Retooled Blues, Sharks hope trades pay dividends soon

Two rebuilding teams with evolving rosters will meet ahead of the NHL trade deadline when the San Jose Sharks host the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

Both teams could make more trades ahead of Friday’s NHL trade deadline. In the meantime, they must play on.

The Sharks have lost six of their last seven after falling to the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 on Tuesday.

“I thought we were too loose,” San Jose coach David Quinn said. “Even in the first two periods, we had some chances to go up 2-0 and just couldn’t capitalize. We were just too loose at the end of the day. When you give up a 2-on-0 basically to lose the game, that’s just not really having a conscience and not reading the situation.”

The Sharks traded star forward Timo Meier to the New Jersey Devils as part of their retooling. They acquired Shakir Mukhamadullin, Fabian Zetterlund, Nikita Okhotiuk and Andreas Johnsson in that trade.

“I was just happy coming here, get to know everyone here, and build some new chemistry,” Zetterlund said. “I’m really excited.’

Zetterlund and Johnsson impressed their coach in their San Jose debuts.

“I thought they were effective,” Quinn said. “I thought they did some good things. It’s not easy stepping in, getting off the plane last night, coming to play right away.”

The Sharks also added forward Vladislav Namestnikov from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Blues are winless in their last six (0-4-2) since trading captain Ryan O’Reilly and forward Noel Acciari to the Toronto Maple Leafs. They also shipped out forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Ivan Barbashev along with defenseman Niko Mikkola in other deals while embarking on a wholesale makeover.

St. Louis is 0-for-22 on the power play during its six-game winless streak.

“We have a tendency to look for the pretty plays instead of just being direct and putting it towards the net, and recovering pucks,” defenseman Torey Krug said. “That’s usually when the pretty plays open up. I’ve got to do a better job of taking control and being a leader of the unit and try to calm things down, put guys in positions to succeed.”

The Blues picked up Kasperi Kapanen on waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins and gave him a scoring line role.

“I thought that last night, like I told (Kapanen) today, he was in the hard areas,” Blues coach Craig Berube said after Wednesday practice. “He was in the middle of the ice. He got some chances and that’s what he’s got to keep on doing. Obviously, do your job defensively and things like that. We were happy with his game.”

The Blues won the previous match-up against the Sharks 5-3 on Nov. 10. Five Blues scored and Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich had two assists each.

St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington made 27 saves and Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 28 shots for the Sharks.

–Field Level Media

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