It is down to the final four in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s the Carolina Hurricanes vs the Boston Bruins in the East. In the West, it will be a rematch of the 2016 Western Conference Finals against the Blues and Sharks. The Sharks took that series in six games and it was a grueling series. Neither team has won the Stanley Cup so that will make this series more intense than it would have been.
NHL Western Conference Finals
Blues vs Sharks
The St. Louis Blues and the San Jose Sharks will face off yet again in the Western Conference Finals. The Sharks will have home ice this series. Both teams are coming off game 7’s. The Sharks beat the Colorado Avalanche and the Blues beat the Dallas Stars. Not that the season series matters as we’ve seen in these playoffs but if it’s any indication of what this series will be like, it’s going to be yet another battle. The Sharks won the season series 2-1-0 as one of them wins was in overtime.
Both teams have advantages on their side but they all balance out to make it a pretty even playing field. The Sharks have the better offense and can create offense from their defensemen led by Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson. The Blues have the better defense and goaltending. The Blues power play has been struggling as they went 1-20 in the past six games and it doesn’t help that the Sharks penalty kill went 21 for 23 in the second round.
How Each Team Can Win
If the Blues can continue the seller defense and goaltend from Jordan Binnington then they will be in great shape. Also if they can score a little more than that would be helpful against a goalie in Martin Jones who has been shaky over the course of the whole season.
The Sharks can win if they can get depth scoring and Martin Jones can play at an elite level. Also if the special teams can be what they have been over the course of these playoffs then the Sharks will make their second Stanley Cup Playoff appearance in franchise history.
These two teams will meet for the first time in the playoffs since the 2016 Western Conference Finals. These two teams have had their playoff history. In the 1999-2000 season, The Blues were first in the division with 114 points but the Sharks stopped them in seven games in the first round even though the Sharks finished eighth in the conference. The next season, the Blues turned the tables and beat the Sharks in six games in the second round.
They met again in the first round of the 2004 playoffs and the Sharks completed the gentlemen’s sweep (five games). In the 2012 playoffs, the Blues returned the favor and completed a gentlemen’s sweep of their own in the first round. That would be the last team time they would meet until the 2016 Western Conference Finals. The Sharks finished third in the Pacific and the Blues finished second in the Central. The Blues had two game seven’s against division opponents. They gave it their all against the Sharks but fell in six games. The Sharks made their only Stanley Cup Playoff appearance that year but fell in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Both teams have combined for four Stanley Cup Playoff appearances but they both have also combined for zero cups. This guarantees that one team will get a chance to play for their first cup in franchise history. Both teams have had their chances to win a cup but both have fallen short so many times. This time around, one will be on series win away from capturing their first Stanley Cup.
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