Blues fans haven't forgotten Joe Thornton's hit on David Perron that cost the forward over a year of being on the ice. Thornton and Perron have each let bygones be bygones, as evidenced from this tweet from Perron:
Just got a very classy text from Joe Thornton wishing me good luck for tonight! He is a class act!
Just because Perron's let go doesn't mean that Blues fans have, so the Sharks - especially Thornton - should be prepared for a loud crowd to make their job tough tonight. They also have to contend with a Blues squad who has lost just two games in regulation over the last fifteen, and who have shot up from fourteenth place to fifth in the Western Conference. The team has motivation to succeed from within, and tonight they might have a little bit of an extra fire lit under themselves.
The Blues will be rolling out a top line of Alex Steen, David Backes, and T.J. Oshie - all of which have been lethal this season. They have 19,18, and 19 points respectively, and Backes has an impressive ten goals. He also has accumulated three goals against the Sharks in the last four games against them. Oshie had two goals in Thursday night's defeat of the Anaheim Ducks, and each member of the line had a +/- rating of 2 in another dominant performance.
Speaking of domination, Brian Elliott will be starting in net for the Blues tonight. Elliott has a 1-1-1 record lifetime against the Sharks, with a 2.28 GAA and a .932 SV%. Keep in mind that's before this season, where Elliott has been on an absolute tear. Elliott still leads the lead with a 1.56 GAA and a .944 save percentage. The four goals he allowed against the Chicago Blackhawks last Saturday hurt his numbers a tiny bit, but bounced right back against the Red Wings on Tuesday.
Tonight's match-up will prove to be contentious and hard hitting. The Blues've been cruising while the Sharks have lost four of their last six, and with a win tonight St. Louis has the potential to jump the Red Wings into second place in the Central Division and one point behind the Blackhawks for first. Of course, that's contingent on the Jets beating the Wings tonight, but still. The top three slots in the Central Division are hotly contested and so far appear to be a ticket to a playoff spot.