WESTERN CONFERENCE STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS ROUND 1
#2 St. Louis Blues vs. #7 San Jose Sharks
Top Players: Brian Elliot, David Backes, TJ Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo
If I could, I would continue their list of top players for about 5 more lines. The St. Louis Blues could prove to be the Cinderella story of this year’s playoffs. With a shaky start and their star forward David Perron still out from a concussion he suffered a year earlier, the Blues were not shaping up to make waves. Perron came back, Ken Hitchcock took the place of Davis Payne, and the team began to regain its faith. With a rockin’ city to back them, the Blues found themselves leading the league by the end of February having lost only 7 games out of 26 between those two months. With All-Star goaltending in Brian Elliot, the Blues have made their presence known in these playoffs from the starting gate.
Sour Note: The Blues need to utilize the youth. Perron, Oshie, and Berglund are a young scoring trio and when they turn it on, they turn it on. Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk are strong offensive defensemen and they are backed by not one but two young goalies. None of the above are over the age of 27. They have all the tools to have success, they just need to know how to use them. Stupid penalties and injury have plagued this team throughout the season. If they can avoid those two things, they could be hoisting the cup this time in June.
Top Players: Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Dan Boyle, Martin Havlat, Antti Niemi
San Jose is not quite in their cushy spot of yesteryear and they have had a partial face lift since losing the Western Conference Championships. The good news? One of their big off season trades is coming to fruition. Martin Havlat began heating up as the season started to cool down. He could prove to have a key role in their success. If there is one thing the San Jose Sharks have proven from their last playoff stint, they are ready and willing to give their bodies up to win. With a dream team top line of Joes and Marleau and a goalie who has won the cup, they are all set for the post season.
Do you know the way to
San Jose the cup? With great power comes great responsibility, leaving the top line vulnerable to the opposition. In the event one of those players is injured, there is no guarantee the other two could go on without him. Their defense also has issues. Brent Burns (their other offseason big trade) has had a less stellar season since donning the teal and black. If he can get back his Minnesota Wild style of play, he may have an impact on the team.