Both the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks will seek tighter defense when they meet again Wednesday night.
The Blues edged the Sharks 5-4 Monday night to open the two-game set in San Jose.
St. Louis rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 and blew a 4-3 lead before prevailing on Jordan Kyrou’s decisive goal in the third period.
“Back-and-forth game, a lot of goals,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “Too many goals against, for sure.”
Sharks coach Bob Boughner agreed. His team lost despite scoring twice on three power-play attempts and killing off all three of its penalties.
“This game was a winnable game for us,” Boughner said. “We scored four on the road, we won the special teams, and that should be a recipe for at least a point. I can think of three, off the top of my head, goals [against] that came off our sticks.
“St. Louis is a good team. You can’t give them anything.”
The Blues, who defeated the Sharks in the 2019 Western Conference finals, are 0-for-9 on the power play this season and just 6-for-14 killing their penalties.
The loss of shot-blocking defenseman Robert Bortuzzo to an upper-body injury during the second game of the season only made things worse.
“We as a group of four that are on the ice … we need to just step up and be better,” Blues defenseman Justin Faulk said. “We need to dig in and take some pride in what we’re doing out there. Just take the reins … (and) get the job done. There’s no excuses for it.”
The Sharks are off to a strong offensive start with their top two forward lines. Tomas Hertl (three goals, three assists), Logan Couture (two goals, two assists), Evander Kane (one goal, three assists) and Timo Meier (one goal, two assists) have led the way through their first three games.
The Blues’ scoring has been balanced, with 16 players earning at least one point through the first three games.
Faulk scored twice Monday while assuming more responsibility after Alex Pietrangelo’s departure via free agency in the offseason.
Winger Mike Hoffman, who signed as a free agent shortly before the season, scored his first goal for St. Louis. The Blues wooed him to replace the offense of Vladimir Tarasenko, who is recovering from shoulder surgery.
Berube welcomed the production from Faulk and Hoffman.
“It’s really good to see,” Berube said. “I thought they were good tonight. Faulk was excellent, and I thought Hoffman did a good job. He worked hard, made good puck decisions and he got a goal.”
The Blues are expected to start Jordan Binnington (2-1, 3.38 goals-against average) in goal again. The Sharks are likely to go back to Martin Jones (1-1, 4.34) after Devan Dubnyk allowed five goals Monday.
–Field Level Media