The San Jose Sharks start off the wrong way: Eklund drop pass on entry gets picked off. That’s exactly how you feed into the Blues’ league-leading rush. MacLean talked about the key to stifling the St. Louis rush this morning, it was puck management.
Two in: Like that Weatherby battle win against Scandella. Weatherby has consistently won puck battles this year against NHL d-men.
Four in: What a side step by Kniazev to get his first NHL shot, made Kostin look bad.
Burns goal: Good net front by Bonino. PP2 looks like maybe Bonino-Barabanov-Merkley-Merkley-Ferraro.
Poor pass by Couture there, he’s going to be killing himself for killing Sharks PP momentum.
Ten left: Eklund on the wall, nice fake of Thomas to buy himself some space.
Nine left: Ferraro reaches when he shouldn’t at blueline, another Blues two-on-one. That’s a good example of STL quick trigger rush.
Seven left: Megna bodies off Barbashev in corner. Nice work.
Five left: Sloppy. Three Sharks below the goal line, somehow, Tarasenko all alone in front of Hill. BIG save.
And Couture makes up for his mistake that led to STL shortie — stick lifts Faulk, nets his own shortie. Gotta give kudos to Hill too — that was a huge save on Tarasenko in front by himself before the penalty
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) November 5, 2021
Poor shift from R. Merkley to close period: Gets pickpocketed without exiting after Ferraro and Cogliano did hard work to win puck in DZ. Then with a chance again to clear, guys desperate for a change, too soft a clear, it gets out, but just to center ice.
Minute left: Balcers stops up at wall on entry, great, then his pass back to point is picked off. St. Louis rush. Lucky there’s just ten seconds left. Poor puck management from San Jose Sharks so far tonight, they’re lucky to be up in my book.
#STLBlues are best rush team in NHL, in terms of rush chances — this morning, MacLean said #SJSharks key to stifling that is puck management, which has been lacking so far. When you enter and you're going to make a cute drop pass, you better be 100% sure or Blues going other way
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) November 5, 2021
Two in: Nice pass by Hill, choosing between covered d-man and Gadjovich on wall. Followed by a STRONG fourth-line shift, full credit to them. Weatherby abused Neal behind the net, Gadjovich was tough along the wall, Pederson made plays too. One of the best shifts that I’ve seen from a Weatherby line this year.
Buchnevich goal: That’s a poor R. Merkley defensive effort. He’s going to be out of the lineup at that rate. Off dump-in, Kostin spins off with puck, no resistance from Merkley. You gotta get into Kostin’s kitchen there, make it hard for him to make the next play. Hertl helps, but Merkley needs to put in that stick, disturb that play. Doesn’t lead directly to goal, but eventually it does so.
N. Merkley goal: But on the hand, this Merkley’s stock is rising. Liked him in his first game, then he leapfrogged Gadjovich in line-up, then Leonard on third line today. Small plays that move puck forward, that’s what I’ve seen from him.
Seven in: Dahlen finds a way to get a stick on the puck again for a quality chance.
It’s off the bar, but you still need a stop from Hill there. If he doesn’t take control of the net, I’m going to be very worried if I’m a San Jose Sharks fan. Reimer is a nice 1B, but he shouldn’t be carrying the load.
Neal goal: He’s not missing from there. Blues win the puck on the forecheck, their fourth line roughs up the Weatherby line, which had been having a great game. Looks like Weatherby and Gadjovich go toward point, probably Weatherby needed to stay low so Neal doesn’t get second chance at least. Think Neal grazed it on arrival, so might have been a tough rebound for Hill to control.
Five left: Good work by Hertl to help Balcers on the forecheck. Sharks win puck back to point, get shot through two layers of traffic. That’s the hockey they want.
Three left: Like that Pederson backcheck.
The San Jose Sharks are down, but this game feels very winnable. They’ve done a nice job competing with a good Blues team, do they have another comeback up their sleeve?
One in: Pretty Barabanov shake and bake on Thomas in corner. Leads to nothing, but good to see him continue his confident play.
Two in: Gorgeous R. Merkley stutter step on entry leads to Kniazev shot.
Five in: Sharp Hill pass to Burns. Leads to transition chance.
Six in: Puck that I think Perron will win, Weatherby turns to a 50-50. Perron is a TOUGH man to win the puck from. More good work again from Jasper.
Ouch: Hertl then Barabanov can’t break out. Barabanov turnover, leads to Megna penalty. That’s tough down one in the third. Need more from Alexander there.
Telling: Megna in box, they’re opting for Kniazev over R. Merkley on PK. Speaks volumes to me.
Nine in: Big Hill save on Thomas in slot.
Nine left: Good work by Burns to solo it behind Hill, get it up to Cogliano for clean exit. Sharks blueliners had been keeping it together, but after tonight, they really need the vets to get back. Burns, Ferraro, and tape right now.
Six left: Good soft R. Merkley breakout bounce pass. That looked like a gutsy pass, how soft it was. But it sprung the breakout. The full Ryan Merkley experience tonight.
They need a PP goal, Burns-Couture-Eklund-Dahlen-Bonino to start.
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