San Jose fared well on its first six-game road trip of the season. A visit to St. Louis could help the Sharks get their next one off to a positive start.
The Western Conference leaders look for a seventh consecutive road victory when they open the second of three six-game trips Thursday night against the Blues.
San Jose (36-11-9) has the fewest road losses in the NHL with a 17-6-2 record away from home, and it hasn't lost outside of HP Pavilion since falling 2-1 at Phoenix on Dec. 12. San Jose went 4-2-0 on a six-game swing from Oct. 15-25, and still has another trip of the same length March 14-23.
After opening the new year 10-3-2 while playing 12 of 15 games at home, the Sharks' upcoming trip will keep them on the road until the two-week Olympic break starts Feb. 15.
"Nothing changes, it is a simple trip," forward Torrey Mitchell told the Sharks' official Web site. "Hopefully we'll win a lot of games."
The Sharks have done that on the road of late, outscoring opponents 20-9 during their six-game winning streak. San Jose has also won eight of 10 at St. Louis, including a 3-1 victory Nov. 14. The Sharks are 2-0-1 this season against the Blues, who are 9-14-5 at home.
Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley each had a goal in San Jose's first trip to St. Louis this season. The veteran forwards have combined for four goals and one assist in three games against the Blues.
Thornton scored twice, but San Jose allowed four unanswered goals in a 4-2 loss to Detroit on Tuesday to conclude a 3-1-1 homestand.
Evgeni Nabokov, one of eight Sharks who will compete in this month's Vancouver Olympic Games, made 33 saves against Detroit, but he allowed four goals for the second time in three starts. Nabokov, however, has a 1.86 goals-against average during his personal eight-game road winning streak. He's 5-2-1 with a 2.60 GAA at St. Louis.
San Jose's star defenseman Dan Boyle has missed the last five games with an upper-body injury but could return at some point on the trip.
St. Louis (25-22-9), meanwhile, returns home to face the top team in the West after a 3-2 win Wednesday at Chicago -- the second-best club in the conference. The Blues are 8-5-3 since Davis Payne replaced the fired Andy Murray as coach on Jan. 2.
"We're playing more as a team and for longer, more consistent periods," said right wing David Backes, who scored twice against the Blackhawks. "We were in a shell a lot before that and (Payne's) done a great job motivating us and been able to get us all on the same page and playing as a team."
Backes has three goals in two games, but the U.S. Olympian has only one assist in three contests against San Jose this season.
Chris Mason made 32 saves Wednesday, but he could give way to backup Ty Conklin in this back-to-back scenario.
Conklin is 4-2-1 with a tie and a 1.70 GAA all-time against the Sharks. He stopped 32 shots in the Blues' 3-2 shootout win at San Jose on Dec. 3.