Is Joe Thornton the Shark to Look To For in Round One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

By anthonyweihofen

In what was a tough battle to get into the Stanley Cup playoffs in the first place just became even tougher for the boys in San Jose.

After a win against the Los Angeles Kings in the last regular season game of the year the Sharks will play the St. Louis Blues who they have no luck against at all this season.

The Sharks were 0-4 against the Blues in the regular season and only scored in two games to tally a total of three points.

Not a single goal or even assist has come from the Sharks core star players in any of those games as well. Patrick, Marleau, Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture all are yet to notch a single-point under their belts against the boys of the Blues.

In the four games played the Blues are averaging less than three goals per game against San Jose so the goaltending of Antti Niemi is doing his job. Now team captain Joe Thornton needs to get his players rolling offensively or the first round series will end quicker than one can say disappointment.

Both goaltenders for the St. Louis Blues Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott have each posted a shutout against San Jose. The two goalies have a combined 15 shutouts this season and have shown reason to feel confident entering this series. So what is San Jose to do or look for in an edge?

In a situation when a team would normally go to their captain for advice might go a little different this time. St. Louis has home ice advantage and one player in particular might be able to make all the difference for San Jose.

Martin Havlat was absent for three out of the four games against the Blues this season and even though he didn’t get a point either like his star friends in San Jose he has the experience to help.

Havlat played for the Chicago Blackhawks for three seasons and therefore has a great deal of experience of playing against his former division rival St. Louis Blues at their home arena too.

Havlat in his first year with the Sharks has been absent for over half the season but has still shown to be a good addition to the team. In 37 games played this year Havlat has scored seven goals and racked up 27 points.

The Blues are going to enter the series playing their regular strong defensive hockey game. With a strong season by both of their goaltenders and high positives in the plus/minus category for all their defensemen they have reason to not change too much. Now the Blues only have three players with 50-point range and their top two are tied with 54. That’s less than even the two best in the Columbus Blue Jackets organization.

Now San Jose has four players with at least 60 points and captain Joe Thornton has 77. The issue is inconsistency though.

Before last week San Jose has not been the best offensively. Although they do have the players and stats to prove that they can be better than what they’ve shown they can not hide their talents anymore or they will be eliminated and quickly.

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