San Jose,Ca - It's doubtful the San Jose Sharks would mind playing another five straight games at home. The St. Louis Blues are probably glad to see California for the last time this season.
Saturday's game at the HP Pavilion will match the Sharks, who still haven't lost in regulation at home, against a Blues team that hasn't won on the West Coast this season.
Oddsmakers from Online Sportsbook Sportsbook.com have made the Sharks –360 money line favorites for Friday’s game against the Rangers. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 56% of more than 205 bets for this game have been placed on the Sharks -360.
With Thursday's 2-0 victory over Anaheim, San Jose moved its home record to 15-0-2, and the Sharks (23-3-2) will complete a season-high five-game homestand Saturday. San Jose has won 10 of its past 11 overall.
The Blues (12-13-3) wrap up a three-game West Coast swing after dropping the first two - 4-2 Wednesday to Anaheim and 6-2 Thursday to Los Angeles. St. Louis has gone 0-4-1 in California this season, including a 5-4 shootout loss Nov. 6 to the Sharks.
In that game, San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov suffered a lower-body injury and missed the next seven contests. Since returning, he has started seven straight games, going 6-0-1 with a 1.84 goals-against average.
That stretch includes his first shutout of the season Thursday and 41st of his career.
"That's like icing on the cake, to get the shutout on top of the 2-0 win," said Nabokov, who is 16-2-1 with a 2.40 GAA. "Everybody chipped in, and we had a good game."
Nabokov has won four straight over the Blues and six of the last eight meetings, allowing one goal or fewer in six of those games.
The No. 1 line of Patrick Marleau, Devin Setoguchi and Joe Thornton has helped turn the Sharks into one of the best offenses in the league, scoring 3.64 goals per game. Setoguchi scored his team-leading 14th in Thursday's win, and Marleau added his 13th. Thornton has a team-leading 32 points, one ahead of his linemates.
San Jose will face one of the league's worst defenses in St. Louis, which allows 3.18 goals per game, and the Blue won't have starting goaltender Manny Legace available.
Legace suffered a concussion when he took a knee to the head Wednesday against Anaheim and is expected to miss at least a week. He had won consecutive starts before getting injured.
Chris Mason took Legace's place and suffered the loss against he Ducks. In Thursday's game against the Kings, Mason was pulled after giving up four goals in the first two periods.
Ben Bishop didn't fare much better, yielding two goals on eight shots in his first appearance since Nov. 6 at San Jose.
"We played terrible hockey and let each other down," Blues center Keith Tkachuk said. "It was just a horrible game."
Mason is 0-5-1 with a 3.18 GAA in his career against the Sharks.
Brad Boyes, the Blues' leader with 28 points, had a four-game point streak snapped Thursday after recording three goals and five assists over that span. B.J. Crombeen's run of five goals in three games, including his first career hat trick Monday against Nashville, also ended.
Saturday's game will be the sixth in nine days for St. Louis, which has lost 13 of the last 15 meetings with San Jose.
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Posted: 12/13/08 1:20 AM ET