Western Conference Finals Preview

The Blues and Sharks are getting ready to kick off their Western Conference Finals series tonight in San Jose. So the question is, who has the edge? Let’s take a look and see.

St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks

 

Series Schedule

Saturday, May 11, 8 p.m.: Blues @ Sharks | NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports

Monday, May 13, 9 p.m.: Blues @ Sharks | NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports

Wednesday, May 15, 8 p.m.: Sharks @ Blues | NBCSN, SN360, CBC, TVA Sports

Friday, May 17, 8 p.m.: Sharks @ Blues | NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports

*Sunday, May 19, 3 p.m.: Blues @ Sharks | NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports

*Tuesday, May 21, 8 p.m.: Sharks @ Blues | NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports

*Thursday, May 23, 9 p.m.: Blues @ Sharks | NBC, SN1, CBC, TVA Sports

 

Keys to the Series

For St. Louis

  • Jordan Binnington needs to be the story once again for the Blues. He has been stellar since getting the starting nod, and as the Blues need him to remain rock solid in net as the playoffs get deeper.
  • The St. Louis offense needs to step up their game, the Sharks have a high powered offense so there may be a few shootouts in this series if the Blues’ defense is not up to the task.
  • Play physical, try to get the Sharks off their game. The Sharks deploy a skilled game, which you cannot match. So try to get in their heads and get them off their game.

For San Jose

  • Test Binnington, make the rooke goalie work. Make him prove himself early. If he can’t this could be a high scoring series for the Sharks offense.
  • Get on the power play, the Blues have an average penalty kill, and you have one of the best power plays in the NHL. Use the power play as a weapon.
  • Martin Jones has been much better recently. But it is still hard to overlook the subpar regular season he had. If he plays like that in this series that could spell trouble for San Jose who is running into a Blues’ goalie in Binnington who has been red hot.

Prediction

San Jose in Six.

Between the Sharks offense and the Blues offense I think the skill gap is too much to combat for the Blues. And while I do give the Blues the edge in net with Jordan Binnington being as good as he has been, if Martin Jones can continue playing like he has recently that almost evens out that advantage that the Blues had in net. All series are typicially dictated but goalie play but I don’t think that is any truer than this one. That is one of the great variables.

On defense it feels like a pretty even series, with a small edge to San Jose, it is hard to counter Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns. In fact I can’t think of a team that can right now. But to give St. Louis credit, I think they have a deeper d-core 1-6 in terms of filling out the pairings. St. Louis’ defense is very good and that may give San Jose a little bit of trouble in this series.

In the end though as stated above, the Sharks have a deeper offense and the edge St. Louis has on the back end isn’t enough to offset the difference between the offenses.

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