Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stanley Cup Preview: Sharks vs. Blues*

This is a new role for both teams. The Sharks are the 7th seed underdogs and the Blues have the 2nd best record in the NHL.

People think this is the recipe for an upset. The Sharks have no pressure on them, they have some considerable playoff experience, and nobody really knows much about the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues have an excellent tandem of goalies in Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. They're the two biggest reasons the Blues allowed a mere 165 goals this season (2.01 per game). The next best were the LA Kings at 179 (2.18 per game).

The Blues are also one of two NHL teams with 30+ home wins. The other being the Red Wings, who had a losing road record. The Sharks were a .500 team on the road. It'll be tough for them to win games in Missouri.

And even though the Sharks have won a few series the past few seasons, any team with Joe Thornton carries that expectation of disappointment.

Furthermore, Antti Niemi has struggled to recapture his Cup winning form.

One thing that gives me doubts about St. Louis is that they don't have one true goalie. Two goalies works well in the regular season, but in the playoffs you have to stick to one guy. If I were a betting man, I'd stay away from this series, or even place a few bucks on the Sharks as an underdog.

Blues in 7.

Series schedule:
1: Thursday 4/12 - 7:30pm - SJ @ StL - CNBC
2: Saturday 4/14 - 7:30pm - SJ @ StL - CNBC
3: Monday 4/16 - 10:00pm - StL @ SJ - NBC Sports
4: Thursday 4/19 - 10:30pm - StL @ SJ - NBC Sports
5: Saturday 4/21 - 7:30pm - SJ @ StL - CNBC
6: Monday 4/23 - tba - StL @ SJ - tba
7: Wednesday 4/25 - tba - SJ @ StL tba

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