Sharks-Blues coverage gets underway at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
Where they stand
Sharks: 18-11-4, 40 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Blues: 21-9-2, 44 points, 2nd Central Division
Sharks: Goals from Matt Tennyson and Barclay Goodrow allowed the Sharks to come from behind in the third period to beat Edmonton on Thursday, 4-3. The game was San Jose’s seventh straight home win, and eighth in the last nine overall – all in regulation. The Sharks complete a six-game homestand tonight and visit Anaheim on Monday in the final game before Christmas break. After tonight, six of the next eight games are on the road.
Blues: A five-game St. Louis winning streak was snapped in Los Angeles on Thursday, 6-4. The Blues scored the first three goals of the game in the first period, but Martin Brodeur allowed six goals on 37 shots to suffer the loss. St. Louis, 9-3-1 in its last 13 games, completes a three-game road trip in Colorado on Tuesday.
Keep an eye on…
Sharks: James Sheppard. The third line center got his first goal in 18 games on Thursday against the Oilers, on a slick feed from Barclay Goodrow. Sheppard has found some chemistry with Goodrow and Melker Karlsson, but the Sharks could use a little more offense from the 26-year-old, who has 10 points (4g, 6a) and an even rating through 27 games. Perhaps that goal gets him going.
Blues: Vladimir Tarasenko. The 23-year-old is tied for second in the NHL with 20 goals, and his 37 points leads the team. Tarasenko has two hat tricks this season, the first Blues player to do that since Brett Hull in 1996-97, including three goals against the Kings on Dec. 16. The right wing brings a seven-game scoring streak into tonight’s game, with 6 goals and 5 assists over that span.
Goals per game: 2.79 (14th)
Goals-against per game: 2.46 (9th)
Power play: 24.2 percent (4th)
Penalty kill: 83.9 percent (9th)
Goals per game: 2.97 (7th)
Goals-against per game: 2.38 (7th)
Power play: 25.4 percent (3rd)
Penalty kill: 79.2 percent (23rd)
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Tommy Wingels
Barclay Goodrow – James Sheppard – Melker Karlsson
John Scott – Andrew Desjardins – Tye McGinn
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Brent Burns
Scott Hannan – Matt Tennyson
Antti Niemi (confirmed starter)
Alex Steen – David Backes – T.J. Oshie
Steve Ott – Jori Lehtera – Vladimir Tarasenko
Patrik Berglund – Paul Stastny – Dmitrji Jaskin
Chris Porter – Maxim Lapierre – Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester – Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman – Kevin Shattenkirk
Chris Butler – Ian Cole
Jake Allen (confirmed starter)
Sharks: Raffi Torres (right knee), Tyler Kennedy (left shoulder), Matt Nieto (ankle) and Mike Brown (right foot) are out.
Blues: Brian Elliott (sprained knee), Carl Gunnarsson (upper body) and Jaden Schwartz (right foot) are out.
The Sharks and Blues will complete their three-game season series within a three-week span. St. Louis returns on Jan. 3, while San Jose makes its only stop in Missouri on Jan. 8. Three of the next nine Sharks games are against the Blues.
The Sharks are 35-43-8 all-time against the Blues, but won all three games vs. St. Louis last season.
Odds and ends
*The Sharks announced on Monday that defenseman Mirco Mueller would be playing in the upcoming World Juniors for Switzerland.
*The Sharks have killed off 20 of their last 22 power plays against (90.9%) in the last nine games.
*Two Sharks (Joe Pavelski, 56.2 percent, Joe Thornton, 56.1 percent) rank in the top-10 in NHL faceoff percentage.
*Joe Pavelski is tied for first in the NHL with eight power play goals. His 206 goals as a Shark is tied for second all-time in franchise history.
*Kevin Shattenkirk has a league-leading 18 power play points.
*David Backes will play in his 600th career game tonight.
*The Blues are averaging 4.00 goals per game in December.
*Marc-Edouard Vlasic played his first NHL game on Oct. 5, 2006 against St. Louis.
“We just seem to put together a little more buy-In more as a team against those top teams. I don’t know if it’s focus or what it is, but we seem to do pretty well against them. Hopefully we keep that going through this next tough stretch.” – Justin Braun