The NHL Playoffs have arrived. The CS staff is pleased to present you with a preview , a couple of keys to the series, and Sean Keenan’s prediction of the winner and MVP of each series. Our thanks go out to Kenny Krizsanitz for his help in writing this preview.
Where the hell did St. Louis come from this year? Out of nowhere they just exploded into a winning machine that has destroyed just about everyone they have come across. This playoff series could be good based on the play of both teams orr based on the fan matchup ( the meat-headedness of the piggish St. Louisians? And the idiocy of a fan base that chants “lets go Sha-arks!” (seriously! Its only one syllable!)).
In 2011-2012 the Blues went 4-0 against the Sharks shutting them out at home TWICE and winning on the other two on the road. This gives them the clear advantage when they have to play on the road.
As it plays for the Blues lunging into 2nd place after a great season, standing at 49-22-11 with 109 points. When you talk about the BLose (intentional mis-spell), you are forced to talk about their goaltending. It appears that there is no difference between the starter and backup this year, because they seem to stop virtually everything. With Halak recording 1.97 goals allowed and a .926 save percentage in 46 games while Elliot netting a 1.56 goals allowed with a .940 save percentage in 38 games, you could say that Ken Hitchcock has a good problem to have (as opposed to the problem of his budding diabetes, and the rabies addiction of his entire fan base).
Capitan David Backes leads the team in goals and points and does just about everything you want your captain to do. He sets up an offense consisting T.J Oshie, Andy McDonald, Alexander Steen, and David Perron. These guys give the BLose the depth that a cup team wants to have. Not to mention having Jason Arnott and Jaime Langenbrunner who have won the cup 3 times between them gives them the veteran presence that GM’s seem to love, and most cup winning teams have.
Normally between the teams previews I throw in a fight from this season or last season… but it appears that both teams are filled with wussies so no go here. Instead you’ll get this gem from a few years back: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is-Lmu_z_pE[/youtube]
As for the 7th seeded Sharks, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski have both snuck past the 30-goal mark during the regular season, but the Sharks do not have the depth or the high-powered offensive witch they have had the last few seasons. They do however have a ton of that ‘veteran experience’ we were talking about earlier. Having Patrick Marleau scoring 30 goals for the sixth time in seven seasons is nice, but trading away Heatly and Setogucci seems to have been the wrong move by the Sha-arks, who have lost a lot of firepower. But on the upside Niemi has made a home in San Jose after winning the cup with the Hawks, giving up a 2.42 goals allowed and a .915% in the save category this season and keeping the Sharks only 16 wins away from a cup.
Can the Sharks keeping Marty Havlat’s hamstring healthy?
Can Antti Niemi steal this series for the overmatched Sharks?
Halak in the net, Elliot in the net, either way it doesn’t matter. Can the offense keep its fast paced speed, while the playing responsible hockey?
Prediction: Blues in 7. Seems like every year a shocker happens and a series gets pushed to 7 that has no business getting to that point. Blues are too good to lose this series though.
MVP: Elliot! If this series goes 7 games, you will likely see Brian Elliot in the net for the Blues