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Ah, the Blues have escaped the first two rounds after 14 games. There is only one thing standing between us and the final round... The San Jose Sharks. Here are our predictions along with a few guests'.
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Let's hop right in, shall we?
Mike Poepping (@pep30)
The Blues and the Sharks will face off in the Western Conference Finals starting this Sunday. It’s sure to be an amazing series with tons of action both ways, but I think the Blues will edge the Sharks out in 6 or 7 games. I think the Sharks aging core won’t be able to handle the Note’s offensive pressure for an entire series, and I don’t think they’ll be able to solve our defense consistently enough to win 4 games. The Blues also have the better goaltender, as Brian Elliott has been forced to play bigger in more games than Martin Jones has (Ells has faced over 100 more shots than Jones, and still has a higher save percentage).
The Blues have held Jonathan Towes, Patrick Kane, Jason Spezza, Jamie Benn, and Patrick Sharp to just four total goals in 14 playoff games, so I think they will continue to find ways to shut down San Jose’s offense in the third round. Though it will be a tough battle, as long as the Blues can manage their shifts, rest, and health as they have to this point they should reach their first Stanley Cup final since 1970 (46 year absence).
Sean Jeffries (@bluenotebacker)
Admittedly, I know far less about the Sharks than I'd prefer going into this series. I detest all the West Coast teams and rarely pay attention to them. I'm familiar with the wookie-esque Brent Burns and their former captain, Joe Thornton. I've heard Martin Jones's name mentioned but have no idea where he came from. By contrast, in watching all but maybe 2-3 Blues games this year I've seen them evolve and coalesce into a juggernaut no team in the league can withstand IF the Blues play their best game for a full 60 minutes. St. Louis all but nullified the impact of Kane, Toews, Benn and Spezza and I believe they have the defense to shut down San Jose's top scorers too by controlling game tempo and avoiding the penalty box. Vladi Tarasenko will put up big points and Brian Elliott will continue his other-worldly level of play. I'll take the Blues in 6.
Drunk Hitch (@drunkhitch)
Holy shit, the conference finals. What a ride it has been. This season has been filled with ups and downs and this team has proven they can handle anything that comes their way. Next comes their biggest test of all, the San Jose Sharks. The Blues and Sharks matchup near perfectly. Both play a very physical game and like getting defenseman involved in the offense. It is key that the Blues stay out of the box and avoid the Sharks lethal power play. This will be one of the best series of the playoffs thus far and I definitely see it going seven games. If the men in blue can avoid the sin bin, grind hard on the forecheck, and take advantage of Martin Jones up high, I believe they will come out on top.
*Yes, Drunk Hitch was drinking while he wrote this prediction*
Blues Buzz: Peter Hempstead (@HempsteadPeter)
The Blues will be facing a hungry Sharks team, but can handle them. The Sharks know this may be the last year of strong production from their aging core. With Thornton and Marleau close to their 40’s, Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski have led this team with desperation for a cup. Veterans like Logan Couture and Joel Ward have stepped up as well. This will be a tough series, and I doubt we will see any lopsided games like the Blues had against the Stars. The reason for that is the emergence of Sharks goaltender Martin Jones. He's good, but not Elliott good. The Blues will likely capitalize off of the Shark’s lack of defensive depth. Look for the Fabbri-Stastny-Brouwer line to continue their dominance. The most important thing to watch in this series will be how chippy it gets. Joe Thornton is not afraid to go after people. Because of this, Reaves or Ott will likely get the call over Jaskin in order to protect our stars. My prediction: Blues in 6 and Tarasenko wins the cover vote
Blues Buzz: PJ Cox (@pjcoxx)
Before I even dive in, I'd like to admit I am extremely happy and thankful for this team. The Blues have really pulled it together and have built a team that, IMO, has what it takes to hoist the cup. However, the Sharks don't want any of that. I'm afraid of those cavemen. Seriously, Burns looks like that cavemen from the old Geico commercials. It'll be interesting to see him battle Backes and Bergie, but the Blues definitely could pull it off. That means they'll have to play 60 minutes of great hockey—just like Game 7 against the Stars. Oh, I have to predict the series? Um... Well, I lowered my expectations of the first two rounds by convincing myself the Blues would lose both Game 7s. Since that seemed to work out, I'll say Sharks in 7 (you know, for good luck). I do think there will be seven games, but I'm terrible at predictions.
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LET'S. GO. BLUES.