Blues End Roadtrip at San Jose. Halak starts. PLUS Quick Playoff look

By Tony Moreno

It’s amazing how quickly the standings can change in the NHL, and the one thing I love about the league is that it takes a full 82 games played to find out where a team will be seeded at the end of the year.  The Blues were fighting for first in the league, but after one Blues loss and one Red Wings win, the Blues fell back to 4th again.  Right now if the playoffs started today, the Blues would face their Central Division rivals, the Nashville Predators (with home ice).  The first round of the Stanley Cup Finals will be no walk in the park.  The Hawks, San Jose, and Stars make the last 3 spots as of now, and have a good chance of pulling off an upset against the top 3 teams.  LA is on the outside looking in and if they can find some way to mesh, they could be one of the best teams in the league.  Colorado is also knocking on the door, a team that reminds me a bit of the Blues. Their young talent has proven to carry a big load and their goalie du0 of Varlamov and Giguere only helps.  With teams only getting better, I’m hoping to see more game 7’s and upsets in the playoffs this year.

Lets not get too far ahead though, as there is still little over a month remaining.  The Blues have the Hawks 3 more times, and the Preds and Wings one more time as well.  Tonight they will be tested once again as they visit the shark tank in San Jose.  UPDATE: Halak will be starting tonight.  Elliot has lossed 3 straight starts not, but only allowing 7 goals.  A win against a strong western conference team could be a huge bounce back to Thursday night’s loss.  San Jose has size and speed in their forwards, smart defenders, and the quickness of Antti Niemi.

The Sharks are also dealing with their own batch of injuries including their coach Todd McLellan who is dealing with concussion symptoms after taking a stick in the head.  Havlat is still out and Murray is dealing with a broken adams apple.  But their biggest loss could be Logan Couture who has missed the last 2 games with a lower body injury.

I just wanted to mention some notes about Thursday’s loss.

-The good.  Elliot played a strong game making 22 saves.  The defense kept the strong Canucks offense out of the zone and didn’t let in too many scoring chances.  They kept good pressure on the forecheck.

The bad.  Besides not getting the win, their quality of chances weren’t too great.  Offense wasn’t able to get good positioning in front of Luongo.  After a stellar first 10 minutes, the Blues started to let off the gas.

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