Sharks vs. Blues Preview
Looking to avenge a shutout in their last matchup with the Blues, the Sharks will try to get back to their winning ways at Scottrade Center when the teams meet Saturday night.
Couture recorded his team-leading 15th goal with a shot from the high slot 1:20 into overtime to give San Jose (16-11-5) a 4-3 victory in Dallas on Thursday night.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Sharks -110 money line favorites for Saturday's game against the Blues. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 52% of more than 132 bets for this game have been placed on the Blues +102.
Couture, the No. 9 pick from the 2007 draft, leads all rookies in goals and is tied for first with 22 points. He is also tied for the NHL lead in game-winning goals with five and has earned high praise from coach Todd McLellan.
"Catalyst would be a very good word," McLellan said of Couture, who has seven goals in his last seven road games. "He's scored some very big goals. Our special teams were below par but he found a way to get the winner in overtime. He's one of the top, if not the top, rookie in the league and when you have that type player on your team, you're thankful."
Devin Setoguchi tallied two goals while Antero Niittymaki made 15 saves against Dallas as he improved to 3-1-0 in his last four starts.
However, Antti Niemi, 1-2-0 with a 2.37 goals-against average in three lifetime visits to St. Louis, is likely to be in net Saturday.
San Jose had gone 9-1-1 in its previous 11 road matchups with St. Louis before falling 2-0 on Nov. 4 as Jaroslav Halak recorded his third shutout.
"It's always feels good when you win the game, especially a game like this like we had facing the best team for many years in our building," Halak said after the game. "To beat them, it's a great feeling."
Halak has no shutouts since that win, but he's 8-2-2 with a 1.47 GAA at home. He received a rare night off during Thursday's 6-4 victory over Los Angeles, but is likely to be back on the ice to face San Jose.
Ty Conklin made 25 saves as the injury-riddled Blues (15-10-5) managed to overcome yet another blow with their highest scoring output of the season.
St. Louis, already without injured defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Roman Polak and forwards David Perron, Andy McDonald and T.J. Oshie, was forced to face the Kings without Erik Johnson after he sprained his right knee during Wednesday's 5-2 loss at Detroit.
"The decor that we have, and the guys that we've brought up - we've got a lot of depth back there," center Alex Steen said. "I think it shows a lot of the character that we have in the room."
Johnson, drafted No. 1 overall in 2006, has 10 points on the season. His status for Saturday remains uncertain.
Steen scored a goal against the Kings to extend his point streak to a season-high five games, and David Backes had a goal and two assists, giving him 10 points in his previous eight contests.
The Blues rank among the best in the league with an 86.2 penalty-kill percentage but face a Sharks team which has scored with the man advantage in four consecutive road games.