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Thursday, May 9, 2019

NHL Western Conference Finals preview

Down to the Final 4

St Louis/San Jose

Each team survived a game 7 at home to get to this point.  San Jose looking to get to their first Stanley Cup final since 2016 while the St Louis Blues are looking for their first Stanley Cup final appearance since 1970. Neither team has won a Stanley Cup in their team's history.

St Louis positives

It all starts in net for St Louis as Jordan Binnington continues to star posting a 2.39 GAA with a .915 save percentage.  His numbers are not earth shattering but he continues to make key saves in big moments and did not give up a 3rd period goal in his last 4 games.  7 of the 8 Blues wins in the playoffs have been by a single goal and Binnington has been huge in preserving those victories.

Jaden Schwartz has come alive in the playoffs with 8 goals after only scoring 11 goals during the regular season.  15 different Blues have scored goals in the playoffs and they have gotten good contributions from 3rd & 4th liners like Patrick Maroon, Tyler Bozak, and Oscar Sundqvist.

The Sharks will have home ice but the Blues are 5-1 on the road for the playoffs.

St Louis Negatives

They played two teams to start the playoffs in the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars who lean more to a defensive style and now will be facing a San Jose Sharks who are much more prolific offensively and are leading all playoff teams in goals scored with 43.

Neither the Blues power play 17.1% nor their penalty killing 75% has been great during the playoffs.

They will need more scoring from Vladimir Tarasenko who has scored only 1 goal in his last 6 games with no assists and has disappeared in stretches.

San Jose positives

The Sharks have scored the most goals in the playoffs with 43 and Logan Couture and Thomas Hertl have scored 9 each.  On defense Erik Burns is tied for the most points in the playoffs with 5 goals and 9 assists and even though Erik Karlsson has not scored a goal he does have 12 assists.

Getting Joe Pavelski back from his ugly game 7 injury against Vegas paid huge dividends in game 7 against Colorado as he scored the 1st goal on a beautiful tip in and is good to go in the St Louis series.  Pavelski scored 38 goals during the regular season.

The Blues are 5-1 on the road for playoffs but the Sharks are 6-2 at home during the playoffs and had one of the best home records during the regular season.

San Jose negatives
Even though Martin Jones was sharper in the Colorado series he is still a question mark and has given up the most goals in the playoffs with 36.  The Blues with Binnington have a decided edge in goal.

5 on 5 the Sharks have had several defensive lapses and have given up plenty of quality chances and can't afford the same number of mistakes in their own end.


This should be another long series and I think this one will go the distance.  I will go with San Jose to win in 7 as I think they will have enough firepower to outlast the Blues

Sharks in 7 games


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