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)

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
Leave a comment

You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

Leave a comment

So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
1 Comment

There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)