The San Jose Sharks get set to take on the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals tonight at 7:30pm. Please note all games will be carried LIVE locally on CSNCA-HD / 98.5-102.1 FM KFOX and the Sharks Radio Network .
Each game day, SJSHARKS.COM will take a look at the “Game inside the Game” as the Sharks continue their quest toward the Stanley Cup! Line matchups, player vs. player battles, head-to-head stats, and key figures highlighted each game day.
Before Game 4, let’s take a closer look at the GAME INSIDE THE GAME for the Sharks and the Blues.
"We said before the second overtime, 'Relax, we've been here before, We know how to do this." – Joe Thornton
before the 2nd overtime in Game 1.
The Sharks need to use that same type of mentality heading into Game 4 vs. the Blues as the Sharks try to tie up the series 2-2. No need to panic.
EXPERIENCE IS KEY
SAN JOSE: The San Jose Sharks have 1,001 games of Stanley Cup playoff experience between the 20 players that have suited up in this first round series vs. the Blues. The Sharks have 12 players that have played in over 40 NHL playoff games in their career:
Marleau127 – franchise leader
Overall, the Sharks average 50 games of playoff experience among the 20 players that have dressed in this series and does not include the 72 games played by Michal Handzus
, who could possibly see action in Game 4. The Sharks need to build off this experience to tie the series before it heads back to St. Louis for Game 5.
ST. LOUIS: The St. Louis Blues have 542 games of Stanley Cup playoffs experience between the 23 players that have suited up in the first round series vs. the Sharks. The Blues have five players that have played in over 40 NHL playoff games in their career:
Overall, the Blues average 23.6 games of Stanley Cup playoffs experience among the 23 players that have dressed in the series. However, if you take out Langenbrunner and Arnott, the Blues have just 284 games of experience among the other 21 players (13.5 average).
LINEUP CHANGES FOR GAME 4
SAN JOSE: despite the broken nose to Dominic Moore
, he has stated that he is healthy enough to play.
Coach McLellan gave a new look during Wednesday’s morning practice to the top 4 lines:
Could we see Winchester and Handzus into the mix? Handzus adds 72 playoff games of experience and Winchester another 23.
ST. LOUIS: Ken Hitchcock inserted Chris Stewart back in the lineup for Game 3 after he sat in Game 2. No lineup changes expected in Game 4.
DID YOU KNOW?
Getting their skates wet… The Sharks have just five players with under 10 NHL games of playoff experience (Desjardins, Wingels, Galiardi, Winnik, and Braun) while the Blues have 14.
Reverse the Trend…. San Jose has dropped four of their last five Game 4’s.
The Trend is your Friend…. The Sharks are 3-0 vs. the Blues in franchise history in Game 4’s, with all three games decided by one goal.
Wouldn’t that be nice… Patrick Marleau
is the Sharks franchise leader with four playoff shorthanded goals in his career.
Coach Todd McLellan won a Calder Cup as the Head Coach of the Houston Aeros in 2003 and a Stanley Cup as an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Sharks need to play like the more experienced team tonight in Game 4 if they want to tie up the series. What does that mean? Play hard but smart and stay out of the penalty box. Don’t let a bad bounce take over the game. Make the Blues KNOW that they are in the Shark Tank! If the Sharks can build of their collective experience and take Game 4, the momentum would be on their side and could possibly have the much younger and inexperienced Blues a little unbalanced headed back to St. Louis!
When coach McLellan asked if experience will be a factor….
"I don't think it hurts us," McLellan said.