The San Jose Sharks have been in this precise position in each of the two previous rounds, having posted a convincing win in the series opener only to turn around and relinquish home-ice advantage with a loss in the following contest. The Sharks aim to get back on track Wednesday when the Western Conference final shifts to the Gateway City for Game 3 against the St. Louis Blues.
"Every series we get a great first game and the second kind of a little bit struggling," San Jose forward Tomas Hertl said after a 4-2 setback in Game 2 on Monday. "It's still fine, but we have to be better, we can't play like that." There has been little issue with the production of Logan Couture (NHL-best 13 goals, 19 points), who recorded his fourth multi-goal performance of the playoffs and second in as many games on Monday by tallying twice in a span of 1:59 during the second period. St. Louis' Jaden Schwartz has also produced as his goal in the first period of Game 2 pushed him within one of becoming the fourth player in franchise history to score at least 10 times in one playoff season. "It's definitely the (most fun) time of the year," said the 26-year-old Schwartz, who scored 11 goals in 69 regular-season games. "I had some struggles earlier that I haven't really had before, but once playoff starts ... I don't know, you just embrace the games, have fun with it. I don't really try to think too much about it."
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, Sportsnet 360, TVAS LINE: Blues -1.5
ABOUT THE SHARKS: San Jose's third line has struggled to make its mark in the playoffs, as Joe Thornton and Kevin Labanc have mustered just one point each in the last eight contests while Marcus Sorensen is mired in a seven-game point drought. "We've got another level, I think," said the 39-year-old Thornton, who owns a team-worst minus-7 rating in the playoffs. One such defensive issue saw Thornton trailing the play as Blues defenseman Roberto Bertuzzo pinched in and scored the eventual game-winning goal late in the second period on Monday.
ABOUT THE BLUES: While much has been made of Thornton's pursuit of the Stanley Cup, St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is on a lengthy quest of his own -- one that has spanned 16 NHL seasons and 1,184 regular-season games. "That's part of the reason why he's still playing. That's the end game," the 35-year-old Bouwmeester said of Thornton. Fellow defenseman Alex Pietrangelo set up Oskar Sundqvist's insurance goal late in the third period on Monday for his 12th point of the postseason, one shy of Schwartz for the team lead.
1. St. Louis' Jordan Binnington is one win shy of becoming the 10th rookie goaltender in NHL history to reach double digits in a single postseason.
2. San Jose RW Timo Meier has six points (two goals, four assists) in his last four games.
3. The Blues failed on all five power-play attempts in Game 2 and are 1-for-26 with the man advantage in their past eight contests.