BLUES RETURN HOME LOOKING TO CLINCH FIRST FINAL APPEARANCE IN 49 YEARS
The Western Conference Final shifts back to St. Louis for Game 6 with the Blues looking to clinch their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since the League expanded beyond 12 teams in 1970-71.
* Over half of St. Louis’ all-time series-clinching wins have taken place on home ice (16 of 29; 55.2%), including both so far in 2019 (Game 6 of R1 vs. WPG and Game 7 of R2 vs. DAL). The Blues own an all-time record of 16-9 in potential series-clinching games as hosts (.640).
* The Blues earned a series-clinching win at home to reach the Final on one prior occasion – a 2-1 double-overtime win over the North Stars in Game 7 of the 1968 Semifinals. They also reached the Stanley Cup Final via road wins in 1969 and 1970.
* St. Louis holds a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series for the 13th time in franchise history, owning a 10-2 series record in the 12 previous instances. The Blues were in the same 3-2 scenario before two of their three trips to the Final, earning a seven-game triumph over the North Stars in the 1968 Semifinals and a six-game win over the Penguins in the 1970 Semifinals.
* In Game 5, St. Louis matched its franchise record for largest margin of victory in a shutout win during the Conference Finals/Semifinals (also 5-0 W in Game 5 of 1970 SF vs. PIT). Overall, the Blues have scored 52 goals in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (18 GP) – the franchise’s third-highest total in a postseason behind 1986 (64 GF in 19 GP) and 2016 (57 GF in 20 GP).
* The Sharks trail 3-2 in a best-of-seven series for the 15th time, having forced a Game 7 in three of the 14 previous scenarios. They won two of those series, doing so in the 1995 Conference Quarterfinals against Calgary and 2019 First Round versus Vegas.
* The Sharks own an all-time record of 16-20 in games when facing elimination, including a 4-0 mark in 2019. Only one team in NHL history has reached the Stanley Cup Final after winning at least six elimination games – the 2014 Kings earned seven such victories before facing the Rangers.
* The Sharks own an all-time postseason record of 7-2 in the contest following a loss by a margin of five or more goals, including a win in Game 5 of the 2019 First Round on the heels of a 5-0 defeat in their previous outing. San Jose is 11-10 all-time immediately following a shutout loss in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a 2-0 mark in 2019.
SHARKS MUST REPLICATE RIVAL KINGS TO REACH FINAL
The Sharks must win three Game 7s to reach the Stanley Cup Final, a feat accomplished by only one team in NHL history – the intrastate rival Kings. In 2014, Los Angeles became the first team in NHL history to win three Game 7s en route to the Final.
* Los Angeles began the 2014 postseason by overcoming a 3-0 series deficit against San Jose, then surrendered series leads against Anaheim (2-0) and Chicago (3-1) before eliminating each opponent with a road win in Game 7. The Kings capped their impressive run with a five-game defeat of the Rangers in the Final.
* Aside from the 2014 Kings, only one other team in League history has won three Game 7s at any point in a postseason: the 2011 Bruins claimed Game 7 victories in the Conference Quarterfinals against Montreal and Conference Finals versus Tampa Bay before clinching the Cup in a winner-take-all showdown in Vancouver.
* Sharks goaltender Martin Jones was part of the 2014 Kings roster, appearing in two games as a backup to Jonathan Quick.
BLUES FORWARDS SCHWARTZ, TARASENKO LOOK TO STAY HOT
* Jaden Schwartz has four goals in the Western Conference Final (4-1—5 in 5 GP) and 12 overall this postseason (12-4—16 in 18 GP). He needs one goal to tie the franchise record for most in a postseason (Brett Hull: 13 in 1990, 12 GP) and one to match Red Berenson (5-2—7 in 1969, 4 GP) for the most by a Blues player in the Conference Finals/Semifinals.
* The franchise record for most goals in any Stanley Cup Playoffs series is eight, a mark set by Hull in the 1990 Division Finals (8-3—11 in 7 GP) and matched in the 1991 Division Semifinals (8-5—13 in 7 GP).
* Vladimir Tarasenko has collected at least one point in each game of the Western Conference Final (2-5—7 in 5 GP). He has scored 29 career goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (29-15—44 in 62 GP), trailing only Hull (67-50—117 in 102 GP) and Bernie Federko (35-66—101 in 91 GP) for the most in franchise history.
* Tarasenko can become the second player in franchise history to collect at least one point in each game of a Conference Finals/Semifinals – Gary Sabourin is the only one to do so (4-1—5 in 1969, 4 GP).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: POTENTIAL SERIES-CLINCHING GAMES, FACING ELIMINATION
Among Blues players to appear in at least one game in the Western Conference Final, Jaden Schwartz leads the way with six career points in potential series-clinching games.
* Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington owns a career record of 2-0 in potential series-clinching games, backstopping St. Louis to wins in Game 6 of the 2019 First Round and Game 7 of the 2019 Second Round.
* Among Sharks players to appear in at least one game in the Western Conference Final, Joe Thornton paces San Jose with 15 career points in elimination games.
* Sharks goaltender Martin Jones owns a record of 6-3 in nine career games where his team faced elimination, including a 4-0 mark during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL QUICK HITS
* The Blues line of Oskar Sundqvist (2-0—2 in 5 GP), Ivan Barbashev (1-1—2 in 5 GP) and Alexander Steen (1-1—2 in 5 GP) has combined for almost a quarter of the Blues’ goals in the Western Conference Final (4 of 18; 22.2%), including the winner in Game 5.
* Sharks forward Logan Couture leads all players with 14 goals in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (14-6—20 in 19 GP), one shy of establishing a franchise record for most in a postseason. Five of those goals have come against the Blues (5-1—6 in 5 GP), tied for the most by a Sharks player in the Conference Finals (Patrick Marleau in 2010).
* Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo has collected 12 points in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (2-10—12 in 18 GP), trailing only the Sharks tandem of Brent Burns (5-11—16 in 19 GP) and Erik Karlsson (2-14—16 in 19 GP) for the most among defensemen. Pietrangelo is one point shy of setting a franchise record for most in a postseason by a Blues defenseman.
* Craig Berube, who took over as Blues head coach on Nov. 21, 2018, is one win away from becoming the 11th head coach in NHL history to reach the Stanley Cup Final after taking over midseason.
EKI, HANSULINHO QUALIFY FOR 2019 NHL GAMING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
The 2019 NHL Gaming World Championship Final will have at least one familiar face, as reigning World Champion Erik ‘Eki’ Tammenpää won the European leg of the NHL’s annual tournament. Hannes ‘Hansulinho’ Kettunen, a 2018 NHL GWC Regional Finalist, will make his World Final debut and head to Vegas as the European runner up.