NHL Western Conference Finals Preview – Blues vs. Sharks
The San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues have made deep runs in the Stanley Cup Playoffs before.
Both teams have the grizzled veterans needed to go the distance, but they’ve also suffered devastating defeats in previous years. During the regular season series, the Sharks edged out the Blues 2-1 with the last game going to San Jose in OT.
Nitrogen Sports Blog expects the 2019 Western Conference Finals should be a long, hard fought series. Read on for our Blues vs. Sharks NHL Western Conference Finals preview.
What the San Jose Sharks need to do
The Sharks have gotten scoring production from their whole lineup. With 10 players registering at least two goals and five players with double-digit point totals in the playoffs, they can overwhelm opponents with their depth.
If the Sharks continue to get contributions from the top to the bottom of the lineup, they’ll be tough to beat. Defense will be a key for the San Jose. The Sharks are undefeated in the regular season when allowing two goals or fewer. That’s 46 wins if you count the playoffs.
What the St. Louis Blues need to do
This Blues vs. Sharks Western Conference Finals preview wouldn’t be complete without the mention of St. Louis’s special teams play. The Blues’ power play has been stalled since the playoffs started and the penalty kill has not been sharp. But the Blues have dominated even strength play this spring.
Their pare winning the possession battle in the playoffs, ranking fifth among all postseason teams in shot attempts percentage on 5-on-5 situations. Plus, coach Craig Berube has the Blues playing extremely disciplined hockey. The consistent smart play has allowed St. Louis to minimize its weaknesses and kept the team out of the penalty box throughout the playoffs.
Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo has led the team offensively from the blue line. But fellow defenseman Colton Parayko might have the more important task of shutting down the Sharks’ wing players.
The key to the series: Goaltending
Topnotch goaltending seemed to be the one thing that has escaped both of these teams up until now. But this season, rookie Jordan Binnington showed up and gave the Blues a premier performance between the pipes. And the Sharks’ previous goaltending woes may finally be over as Martin Jones comes into his own.
Jones stole games for the Sharks throughout the playoffs. His performance in Game 7 against the Colorado Avalanche was probably his best so far. He made 58 saves in the double OT thriller to push the Sharks to the Western Conference Finals.
Both the St. Louis Blues and the San Jose Sharks had to go through the full route in the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as they won their respective Game 7 matches in the Western Conference semifinals.
A St. Louis vs. San Jose matchup is expected to be a riveting affair, as made clear by the points made in this Blues vs. Sharks Western Conference Finals preview.
Over at the other side of the bracket, the Boston Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes have kicked things off in their own series. Visit our Bruins vs. Hurricanes Eastern Conference Finals preview for more about that showdown.
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