Kukla's Korner

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Before The Puck Drops Today

from Tracey Myers of NHL.com,

The San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues will each try to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference Final when they play Game 5 at SAP Center on Sunday.

The Blues scored twice in the first period before holding off the Sharks for a 2-1 win in Game 4. It was the 10th victory of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for St. Louis, tying its record it set in 1986 and 2016.

When the conference final/semifinal is tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has a series record of 19-8 (70.4%).

Here are 5 Keys to Game 5:

1. Binnington stays strong
Blues rookie goalie Jordan Binnington continues to handle the playoff pressure well. He's 10-7 with a 2.58 goals-against average and .908 save percentage, the first goalie in Blues history to win at least 10 games in a single postseason and the 10th rookie to do so in NHL history.

St. Louis expects the same steadiness from him in Game 5.

"He's been dynamite for us back there all year," Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said. "He's just doing his thing and just a lot of confidence in him from the whole team. Every single game he's given us a chance to win, so yeah, there's not much more to say. He's been unbelievable for us and such a huge part of our success."

2. Home sweet home
The Sharks didn't get off to a great start in Game 4, but they're confident they can find their game immediately at home Sunday. San Jose is 7-3 at SAP Center this postseason and has outscored its opponents 39-29.

"The series is tied up now, best out of three, and we've got home-ice advantage," Sharks forward Gustav Nyquist said. "We have to make sure we take advantage of that. We've been good at home and we'll be ready to play tomorrow."

read on

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com