2012 NHL Playoff Preview: St. Louis Blues vs. San Jose Sharks

NHL Network Manager – Randy Holt

Similar to the matchup between Vancouver and Los Angeles, this is a series that I could see going either way. You have the St. Louis Blues, the top defensive squad in the NHL, having been simply brilliant since Ken Hitchcock took over behind the bench. They have the luxury of two no. 1 goaltenders on their roster, between Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot. Their style of play will certainly help them in the playoffs, as they’re as tough to score on as anyone in the league. But they are a team that has had trouble on the road, and they’re playing at a very intimidating arena, at the Shark Tank.

The Sharks underachieved this year, and had a bit of trouble maintaining consistency, but could still be dangerous in the postseason. The big names on this team are obvious: Joe Thornton, Martin Havlat, Joe Pavelski, but is it enough to carry them in a series with St. Louis? Better yet, could Antti Niemi actually be able to keep up with the likes of Halak and Elliot on the other side? The Sharks do have that advantage in that their arena is a very intimidating place to play in. I still don’t see them pulling it off, but if they could steal a game in St. Louis, things could get very interesting.

Prediction: St. Louis in 7.