St. Louis Blues (0-1, best of seven) @ San Jose Sharks (1-0, best of seven)
May 12, 2019, 9:00 PM EST (SAP Center)
Moneyline: St. Louis Blues +115/San Jose Sharks -135
Puckline: San Jose Sharks -1.5
ESPN NHL Scores: San Jose Sharks vs. St. Louis Blues
After taking game one quite handily, the San Jose Sharks are looking to keep their home-ice advantage throughout the Conference Finals and win game two at home. The Blues are hoping to notch an upset win as well as rediscover the defensive balance that helped get them to the conference finals.
St. Louis Blues
Jordan Binnington turned in one of his most sour performances of his career, thus far, after allowing five goals on 24 shots. His .792 save percentage will improve because this game was not about Binnington’s lack of effort. Game one was a myriad of turnovers, odd bounces, and a home crowd urging their Sharks to victory.
And it shouldn’t be ignored that while the Sharks’ Timo Meier was scoring two goals, seven minutes apart, the Blues were still able to win the possession battle.
Being down three goals, on two different occasions in the game, allowed the Blues to take some liberties in the puck possession game (because the Sharks pulled back significantly), but the alternative would be a defeated team who had no confidence in a comeback. Blues fans can at least be happy knowing that their team will keep pushing to earn the 54.2 CorsiFor%, through three periods.
The puck possession game has been important for the Blues, but don’t ignore the fact that the Blues are now the only team in the playoffs, right now, with a negative goal differential. I’d point to this fact as being of a nod to their “win-some/lose-some” approach to the playoffs thus far.
And as long as Jaden Schwartz (8 G, 12 P) and Ryan O’Reilly (7 A, 10P) are available for the Blues, the offense should continue to “hum”.
San Jose Sharks
Speaking of a team that has struggled to over a goal differential in their opponent’s favor, it’s the San Jose Sharks who finally overcame their own pains. Winning by three goals in game one of the Western Conference Finals led to the Sharks holding a +3 goal differential in the playoffs, thus far.
The Sharks have the most goals scored per game, amongst those left in the playoffs (3.22 GPG) AND the most goals allowed (46). The Sharks need this powerful offense to help overcome the goaltending woes that, regardless of how one would argue it has improved, have followed the Sharks into the playoffs.
Martin Jones now owns a .909 SV%, (much better than his .896 SV% in the regular season), but the ebbs and flows in each series would suggest the flood gates may be opened soon.
Jones’ first round was much worse than his second, but that’s not to say that things have been completely fixed in San Jose’s defensive department. Even in analyzing the key statistics from the possession game, a slip back into the .800’s for Jones’ SV% could mean disaster for the Sharks.
Luckily, the Sharks have that powerful offense I previously mentioned. Logan Couture now leads all playoff skaters in points, with 17. Not far behind him is the leader in assists, during the playoffs, Erik Karlsson. As long as this offense performs at this peak level, they shouldn’t struggle to compete.
Cover the Spread 365 NHL Betting Trends
St. Louis Blues
St. Louis are 2-5 SU in their last 7 games against San Jose.
St. Louis are 5-2 SU in their last 7 games on the road.
St. Louis is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games when playing on the road against San Jose.
San Jose Sharks
San Jose are 8-3 SU in their last 11 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of San Jose’s last 7 games against St. Louis.
San Jose are 6-1 SU in their last 7 games at home.
Free NHL Predictions: St. Louis Blues @ San Jose Sharks
There is nothing in the numbers that would suggest the Sharks can’t walk away with another victory at the SAP Center. After the dominating performance in game one, you could finally make the argument that Martin Jones is doing better than his opponent’s goaltender.
That being said, the Blues looked tired (despite winning the possession battle) and turned the puck over a lot! They’ve been coached well, so far this season, and have been able to turn the big losses into stronger defensive performances in the game following.
But can the Blues muster up enough offense to beat with the Sharks? Unfortunately for Blues fans, not tonight. This series is not over and the next two games in St. Louis will be extremely important, but they’ll be working to overcome a 2-0 deficit.
Pick: San Jose Sharks -135
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