Blues look to halt skid in clash vs. Sharks

Sharks

The slumping St. Louis Blues will try to snap their four-game winless streak when they host the San Jose Sharks Thursday night.

The Blues are coming off a 3-2 home-ice loss to the Arizona Coyotes, who had not won a road game all year.

“There was just not a lot of energy or life the first two periods,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “So that was the choice they made. Third period we had a ton more and controlled most of the period. But you can’t go out and just not play — you’ll lose to any team in this league if you don’t show up and (play) with any desperation or urgency in the game.”

Since starting the season 5-0-0, the Blues have gone 3-5-2 in their last 10 games to sink in the Central Division standings. So they will seek a turning point while closing their three-game homestand against the Sharks at Enterprise Center.

“We’ve got to stop this before it gets out of hand, and we will,” said defenseman Torey Krug, who just returned from his COVID-19 hiatus. “That’s the resilience of this group. A big game on Thursday.”

The Sharks lost four of five games before getting back on track with a 4-1 road victory over the Minnesota Wild.

“That was one of our better road games of the year,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “We talked about getting back to what makes us successful, our identity and grinding out wins. It was a complete team win. I thought every line gave us something tonight; I thought all the D that played were excellent, and had good goaltending. We came out ready to play a solid road game.”

Since returning from COVID-19 protocols, Sharks winger Timo Meier has a goal and two assists in two games. He has 14 points in 10 games this season after producing just 31 points 54 games last season.

“I think he’s finally bought in that the better he plays defensively, the less he’s going to be in his own end,” Boughner said. “He’s been doing some great things in the offensive zone that he wasn’t doing last year. He’s getting to the point in his career where he understands the way he has to play to have success. This is the best hockey I’ve seen him play.”

The Blues have gotten closer to full strength with the return of Krug and Oskar Sundqvist to active duty. Sundqvist had spent the last eight months recovering from knee surgery. Forward Brayden Schenn remains sidelined with an upper-body injury.

The team also promoted top defensive prospect Scott Perunovich from Springfield of the AHL after he scored 20 points in 12 games. He replaced Jake Walman in the starting lineup. Defenseman Niko Mikkola returned from COVID-19 protocol, but he has been a healthy scratch.

The Sharks have continued to shuffle their defensive corps. On Tuesday, Radim Simek was a healthy scratch for the first time this season with Santeri Hatakka replacing him in the lineup.

–Field Level Media

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