Unbeaten Blues, Sharks to Battle Tuesday Night
ST. LOUIS - The Kansas City Chiefs are not the state's only unbeaten professional sports team. That's because the St. Louis Blues have started the 2013-2014 campaign on a tear, defeating all four of their opponents.
After knocking off the Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers in their first two matchups, the Blues captured a thrilling victory over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. On Saturday, St. Louis handed the New York Rangers a loss to improve to 4-0-0.
Now the team looks to complete a five game homestand sweep when the San Jose Sharks come to town. The Sharks are one of just two other teams that have yet to have a blemish in their record, starting the season a perfect 5-0-0.
Both teams have been led to those marks by solid offensive play. The teams are ranked one and two in the league for goals per game with San Jose on top with 4.80 and the Blues next in line at 4.75.
St. Louis has been led by veteran left wing Alexander Steen. He is a +5 on the ice so far and has tallied four goals and four assists. The eight points rank tied for second in the league - with San Jose's Tomas Hertl.
The rookie Hertl has dominated play at the center position this season en route to a league-leading seven goals. What's more impressive is the 17th overall pick in last year's draft is doing it while averaging just 14:22 on ice per game.
The two teams have combined to outscore their opponents 43 to 14 through nine games. That's because they can both keep pucks out of their own nets as well.
San Jose has one of the strongest defensive lineups in the NHL. Three of its defensemen rank in the league's top five blue liners for +/-, with Marc-Edouard Vlasic leading the group at +8.
But if the Sharks defense was to break down, goaltender Antti Niemi would most likely stand tall in net. He has allowed just seven goals on 114 shots through five games. The 30-year-old Finland native even tallied an assist in a game against the Rangers last week.
The Blues are powered in net by Jaroslav Halak. He averages allowing just 1.75 goals per game coming off an injury last season that limited him to 16 games. Through four games this year, he has already posted a shutout as well.
This matchup of Western Conference elites may be one that is featured in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. For now, they'll be jostling for two points in the standings.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. in the Scottrade Center. The game can be seen on the NBC Sports Network.