The St. Louis Blues, the number two seed in the Western Conference, will face the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the NHL playoffs which begin Thursday night in St. Louis.
San Jose has made it to the Conference Semifinals in each of the last two years, but struggled to make the playoffs this season in the tightly contested Pacific Division.
The key to this series will be for the Blues to continue to play solid defense and get consistent goaltending. The Blues led the League with 1.89 goals-against per game and allowed a League-low 102 even strength goals while picking up 15 shutouts between Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott.
The Sharks featured three players who scored 30 or more goals, but after Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau, there is a sharp drop off with no other player scoring more than 19 goals.
In four meetings this season, the Blues won all four games, netting two empty net goals and registering two goals apiece from defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk
Sat. Oct 15. Blues W 4-2
Sat. Dec 10. Blues W 1-0
Sun. Feb 12. Blues W 3-0
Sat. Mar 3. Blues W 3-1
Series preview from NHL.com
Missourinet’s prediction: Blues in four games