The San Jose Sharks get set to take on the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals tonight at 4:30pm! 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 5, let’s take a closer look at the GAME INSIDE THE GAME for the Sharks and the Blues.
ALL THE SMALL THINGS
"We just need to play a little better. We have to find a way to win. We need to swing the momentum on our side, hope it gets contagious, and then you never know." – Joe Pavelski
If the Sharks are to force a Game 6 in San Jose on Monday, they are going to have to do some of the little things better than the Blues. Blocking shots, winning key face offs, battling along the boards, and not turning the puck over will all be HUGE in a must win Game 5.FACEOFFS
Winning a key draw late in the game in your own zone or killing precious time off your opponent’s power play with a face off win in your own end can go a long way in a long playoff series. The Sharks need to be better in the faceoff dot in Game 5.
Some faceoff numbers through Game 4:
Thornton:35 win 24 loss 59.3%
Pavelski:27 win 37 loss 42.2%
Desjardins:20 win 12 loss 62.5%
Couture:19 win 25 loss 43.1%
Backes45 win 32 loss 58.4%
Sobotka23 win 14 loss 62.0%
McDonald17 win 12 loss 58.6%
Nichol16 win 14 loss 53.3%BLOCKED SHOTS
San Jose needs to get pucks through in Game 5. The Blues have made it a collective effort through the first four games to block, block, and block shots that have been fired from the point. Look for the Sharks to fire the puck at will tonight, - no shot is a bad shot. Plenty of traffic in and around the crease tonight in front of Brian Elliott is key. The Sharks need to get dirty in Game 5.
Blocked Shots through Game 4:
LINEUP CHANGES FOR GAME 5
SAN JOSE: despite the broken nose to Dominic Moore
, he has stated that he is healthy enough to play.
Coach McLellan is expected to play the same group in Game 5 as we saw in Game 4 in San Jose.
Couture - Thornton - Pavelski
Clowe - Marleau - Havlat
Winnik - Handzus - Mitchell
Winchester - Desjardins - Wingels
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 5.
Perron - Backes - Oshie
Steen - Berglund - McDonald
Sobotka - Arnott - Stewart
Langenbrunner - Nichol - Crombeen
DID YOU KNOW?
Each team has scored six goals through the first four games in 5-on-5 play.
PP… Patrick Marleau
is the Sharks franchise playoffs leader with 20 power play goals.
Irbe… Antti Niemi
is tied for 2nd in franchise history with 9 wins in the playoffs – tied with Arturs Irbe.163 is tonight…
San Jose is 77-85 in 162 career NHL playoff games… 11-11 vs. the St. Louis Blues.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Obviously the Sharks offense needs a break out game tonight in St. Louis if San Jose is to extend the series. But, watch for the little things tonight in St. Louis. – winning battles for loose pucks, key faceoffs, and blocking shots. If the Sharks do those things well tonight, the offense will follow suit and the Sharks will return home for Game 6 on Monday. Mission Possible!
"You have to keep pounding away at the rock, and eventually you hope it cracks.” – Coach McLellan.