The St. Louis Blues will try to recharge their offense when they open a four-game road trip Thursday against the San Jose Sharks.
The Blues (46-20-111, 103 points) are coming off of a 3-2 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday at home. That snapped their nine-game winning streak and ended their run of 12 straight games of scoring four or more goals.
“We’ve been playing a lot of hockey, you could tell that,” Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly said. “They (Bruins) had a little more energy in there, won a few more battles than us. That’s what happens in the course of a long season, but still we didn’t manage the puck.
“So you don’t use that as an excuse but that happens. You have to find a way when things aren’t going your way to simplify and build the game out of that.”
The Sharks (30-34-12, 72 points) are coming off a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blues Jackets. That snapped San Jose’s 10-game winless (0-6-4) streak.
“We feel a little relief, obviously,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “It didn’t come easy, they pushed us hard. But to get two points, especially after a long road trip, coming home and it’s a quick turnaround.”
The Blues will carry a 13-game point streak (11-0-2) into this game. They won their previous two games against the Sharks this season, 5-3 at San Jose on Nov. 4 and 4-1 at home on Nov. 18.
St. Louis is tied with the Minnesota Wild for second place in the Central Division and the home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Minnesota has played one fewer game, so it has a leg up in the race.
After the Bruins dominated the Blues in the second period of Tuesday’s game, the Blues finished with a solid third period that gave them something to build on.
“We kind of put the end to it there at the end of the second,” Blues defenseman Justin Faulk said. “It’s gonna happen, you’re not gonna have a perfect period every game right now every period. The other team’s fighting for something usually, right?
“So if you can find ways to stop it early and not let it bleed, that’s important. And keep finding your game and building your game as we get into the playoffs.”
The Sharks are using their remaining games to get a head start on next season. Boughner has been encouraged by the play of forwards Scott Reedy, Noah Gregor, Rudolfs Balcers and Thomas Bordeleau.
“‘Rudy and Gregor, I said after last game, that’s the best I’ve seen them play together on a line, and I think a lot of that credit has to (go) to Bordeleau,” Boughner said. “Slowing the game down a little bit, giving him pucks with full speed and being able to distribute them through the middle of the ice. I really liked that line, and I think Bordeleau had another strong game.”
On Reedy, Boughner said, “is a guy that works hard, he’s trying to get better every day. And the offensive upside that he has, I think for a team that struggles to score, you want to keep developing these guys to have a touch around the net.”
–Field Level Media