Alexander Steen #20 of the St. Louis Blues is introduced prior to playing against the Detroit Red Wings at the Scottrade Center on January 19, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.
(January 18, 2013 - Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America)

NHL on NBCSN: Sharks, Blues gear up for 2012 playoff rematch


NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the St. Louis Blues host the San Jose Sharks at the Scottrade Center at 8:00 p.m. ET.

In January, the Sharks could do no wrong thanks in part to an explosive offense led by forwards Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Joe Pavelski.

They earned seven straight victories that month – and they haven’t won since. Instead, San Jose has a 0-4-3 record in February and the trio that instilled fear into goaltenders earlier this season has combined for just four points this month.

Still, Sharks GM Doug Wilson is preaching patience.

“There are other teams that have gone through phases of losing some games, other very good, talented teams out there that are not on top of their game to the level they want to be,” Wilson said.

Until recently, Wilson might have been referring to their opponents tonight.

The Blues also got off to a hot start this season only to struggle in February. They lost five straight games, in part because starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak suffered a groin injury and netminder Brian Elliott was lit up in his absence.

However, the Blues bounced back with 22-year-old goaltender Jake Allen between the pipes. Halak has recovered as well, although Allen will start tonight, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.

With St. Louis rising and San Jose looking for answers, the Sharks probably wish this meeting was under different circumstances. This is the two squads’ first match since the Blues dismissed San Jose in the first round of the 2012 playoffs.

Just a few weeks ago, the Sharks could have used this game to prove that they’ve moved past their 2012 shortcomings. Now they are limited to a far more basic need: Two points.

Probable goaltenders: STL – Allen (3-0-0, 2.76 GAA, .888 SV%) | SJS – Antti Niemi (6-2-3, 1.94 GAA, .930 SV%)

Top scorers: STL – Alexander Steen (4-11-15, 15 GP) | SJS – Marleau and Thornton are tied with 15 points in 14 games.

Notable Injuries:
St. Louis – Forwards: Jamie Langenbrunner (hip)
San Jose – Forwards: James Sheppard (lower body), Andrew Desjardins (illness)

Torres suspended pending hearing

Raffi Torres, Cory Schneider
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According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.

The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.

Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.

“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

Oilers place Scrivens on waivers

Jordan Martinook, Ben Scrivens
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The Edmonton Oilers placed Ben Scrivens on waivers on Sunday.

Should he go unclaimed, the 29-year-old will be sent to the American Hockey League.

It looks like Edmonton will enter the regular season with Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson as their goaltenders.

Scrivens was the team’s number one goalie last year, but his overall numbers were among the worst for starting goaltenders in the NHL.

He had a 15-26-11 record with a 3.16 goals-against-average and a .890 save percentage in 57 games last season.

Scrivens is scheduled to make $2.3 million in the final year of his contract.

If he does end up in the AHL, the Oilers will carry $1.35 million of dead money on the salary cap.

The move comes one day after Edmonton placed Nikita Nikitin on waivers.

The 29-year-old officially cleared on Sunday afternoon.