The St. Louis Blues have revved up their power play and kept the San Jose Sharks‘ top line in check while taking a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal series. They can push San Jose to the brink of elimination with a triumph at HP Pavilion on Thursday. St. Louis scored three power-play goals in Monday’s 4-3 victory, improving to 5 for 13 with the man advantage in the series. Meanwhile, it has held the Sharks’ top unit of captain Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski to a total of three assists – all by Thornton in Game 3.
Blues Sharks Betting
When: 10:30 PM ET, Thursday, April 19, 2012
Where: HP Pavillion at San Jose, San Jose, California
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), CSN California (San Jose)
THE BLUES: Jaroslav Halak was on the ice Tuesday for the first time since injuring his ankle in Game 2. Halak, who was hurt after colliding with teammate Barret Jackman, has already been ruled out for Thursday. “Like anybody else, until you’re a player, you’re out,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “That’s kind of what we’re thinking. He’s definitely not going to be available to us on Thursday.” Andy McDonald’s performance on Monday became even more impressive after the game as a scoring change gave him a third assist to go with his goal. McDonald has six points in the series and trails Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux by two for the playoff scoring lead.
THE SHARKS: With an extra day off between games, coach Todd McLellan canceled practice Tuesday and gave the team the option to skate following a video session in the morning. Nearly half the club did not take to the ice, appreciative of the coach’s decision. “I’m sure the rest will help,” Ryane Clowe said. “You don’t always get that extra day in the playoffs.” McLellan indicated he may tinker with his lineup for Game Four, although no names were mentioned. “We can do some small things in all areas of the game to get better,” he said. “We can look at the line combinations, potential lineup changes. There’s a lot of things we can do.” Pavelski is confident he and his linemates will start contributing offensively. “Sometimes they’re going in and you don’t know how. And sometimes they don’t,” he said regarding goal-scoring. “But if we keep getting quality chances, we’ll find a way.”
1. St. Louis has won six of its seven overall meetings with San Jose in 2011-12, with its only loss coming in double overtime in the conference quarterfinal opener.
2. The Blues have not won a playoff series since 2002.
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