Rusanowsky Outlines Keys For Sharks/Blues

With 15 goals through two games, the Western Conference Finals could be a wild and crazy series

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
May 14, 2019 - 9:10 am
Sharks Blues Game 2 NHL Playoffs

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The Blues beat the Sharks, 4-2, in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday to even the series at a game apiece. Sharks play-by-play voice Dan Rusanowsky dropped by CBS Sports Radio to discuss keys to the rest of the series.

“I think winning face-offs is really important, especially in your defensive zone,” Rusanowsky said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Tomas Hertl has been carrying most of the load for that, especially since Joe Pavelski got injured and he’s not taking face-offs all the time just yet.

“I think discipline is another issue,” Rusanowsky continued. “In this particular game, you’re never know how they’re going to call it. You could make some arguments about it, but the Sharks allowed or gave five power-play opportunities to the Blues, while they only get two. Which is exactly the opposite of what happened in Game 1. The team that had all of the power-play chances ended up winning the game. The Sharks had a power-play goal in Game 1, but you can see what that takes in terms of the toll on the team.

Aside from that, the series hinges on “the usual stuff.” Read: defense and goaltending.

“The Sharks are depending on all four of their lines up front to be solid defensively, and really they’re looking at a team that’s very similarly built on depth and on a couple of top-end players,” Rusanowsky said. “I think the Sharks are a little bit deeper than the Blues are on defense. Certainly they are right now with (Carl) Gunnarsson hurt, but that’s going to play out over the course of the series.

"I think you have to find the unsung heroes and the big saves here or there and occasionally the big special-teams play,” Rusanowsky continued. “That’s probably going to be the real keys to the series, along with a killer instinct – something that the Sharks looked like they wanted to have (in Game 2) but unfortunately couldn’t finish it off. They’ve got to get that killer instinct to make sure they take care of business in this series.”

Neither franchise has won a Stanley Cup. The Sharks last played for one in 2016, while the Blues haven’t reached the Final since 1970.

“These are two very hungry cities for a championship,” Rusanowsky said.

Click below to listen to Rusanowsky's interview in its entirety.