In the Crease: Sharks look to digest Blues

Highlights: Sharks outlast Kings in shootout

In the Crease: Sharks look to digest Blues
November 29, 2013, 9:00 am
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Friday night's contest will be the first Blues-Sharks matchup since Maxim Lapierre injured Dan Boyle on Oct. 15. (AP)

Programming note: Sharks-Blues coverage gets underway on Friday at 12:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California

Where they stand
Sharks: 16-3-5, 37 points, 1st Pacific Division, 3rd Western Conference
Blues: 18-3-3, 39 points, 2nd Central Division, 2nd Western Conference

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 3.33 (3rd)
Goals-against per game: 2.08 (T – 4th)
Power play: 19.0 percent (13th)
Penalty kill: 83.3 percent (12th)

Blues
Goals per game: 3.46 (2nd)
Goals-against per game: 2.08 (T – 4th)
Power play: 25.6 percent (1st)
Penalty kill: 85.4 percent (6th)

Probable lines

Sharks
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Tommy Wingels
Marty Havlat – Joe Pavelski – Tyler Kennedy
James Sheppard – Andrew Desjardins – Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Matt Irwin – Dan Boyle
Scott Hannan – Brad Stuart

Antti Niemi (confirmed starter)
Alex Stalock

Blues
Alex Steen – David Backes – T.J. Oshie
Patrik Berglund – Derek Roy – Chris Stewart
Jaden Schwartz – Vladimir Sobotka – Valdimir Tarasenko
Brenden Morrow – Maxim Lapierre – Magnus Paajarvi

Alex Pietrangelo – Jay Bouwmeester
Kevin Shattenkirk – Barret Jackman
Ian Cole – Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak
Brian Elliott

The latest

Sharks: The Sharks remained perfect on their season-long five-game homestand with a 3-2 shootout win over the Kings on Wednesday night, improving to 3-0. Joe Thornton scored in regulation and had the shootout winner in the eighth round, and Joe Pavelski also scored. San Jose reclaimed first place in the Pacific Division with the win.

Blues: The NHL’s best team in terms of winning percentage, the Blues have won five straight, including a 4-1 win in Colorado on Wednesday. Alex Steen scored his league-leading 20th goal in the win, while Jaden Schwartz extended his scoring streak to five games. St. Louis has scored at least three goals in each of the last five games.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Mike Brown. Brown was added less than a week after Maxim Lapierre drilled Dan Boyle from behind, and could challenge Lapierre early. Brown has also been giving the Sharks some good minutes on the fourth line lately, and will be playing in his fourth straight game for the first time since the Sharks acquired him.

Blues: Alex Steen. Steen not only is tied for the league lead in goals with 20, his +16 rating is also an NHL best, tied with three other players (including the Sharks’ Justin Braun). Steen is tied for second in the league with 30 points, and has nine points (2g, 7a) in 14 career games against San Jose.

Injuries/Scratches

Sharks: Raffi Torres (right ACL surgery) and Adam Burish (back surgery) are out.

Blues: Jordan Leopold (finger surgery) and Ryan Reaves (broken hand) are out.

Season/All-Time series

This is the second of three meetings between the Sharks and Blues. San Jose won at Scottrade Center on Oct. 15, 6-2, to improve to 6-0-0 to start the season. The Sharks return to St. Louis shortly, on Dec. 17.

All-time, the Sharks are 33-43-2-6 vs. the Blues.

Quoteable

“We’ve been a pretty simple line out there. [Tyler Kennedy] has been great, he’s been holding on to a lot of pucks and taking pucks to the net. Marty [Havlat], too, has been skating really well and making those plays. He looks more like Marty out there. It’s good, it’s fun to play in their end all night.” – Joe Pavelski, on the Sharks’ third line

Burning question

Should the Sharks seek retribution against Maxim Lapierre? Leave your answer in the comments section below.