On the eve of Friday the 13, the San Jose Sharks defeated a commendable Nashville Predators team to advance to the Western Conference Finals, and for the fourth time in franchise history. Now, the Sharks will face-off with the St. Louis Blues in hopes to advance to the club’s first ever Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
The Sharks and Pawvelski that is…
Expectations are high for the 2016 Western Conference Finals matchup, and here are three things to know for game one between the Sharks and Blues.
1.) First Time For Everything
As stated above — the Teal have never had a Stanley Cup Finals appearance, but both clubs have yet to hoist Lord Stanley high above their heads. This is the sixth time in team history that St. Louis will play in the Conference Finals, as they’ve advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals on three occasions in the past but lost in each appearance (1968, 1969, 1970).
The last time the Blues made a run this far in the playoffs was back in 2001 under (then) head coach Joel Quenneville, when the club also defeated the San Jose Sharks in six games during the first-round too.
San Jose last appeared in the Conference Finals back-to-back years — 2010 & 2011.
2.) Winning On The Road May Be Biggest Key For Sharks
The Sharks entered the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoff picture as the league’s best road team, and struggled during the campaign to win on home ice at the SAP Center. Yet, the tides have changed and the Sharks now find themselves tied for the best home record (Tampa Bay Lightning) among the remaining four teams this spring (5-1).
While San Jose has struggled away from the Shark Tank, the Blues have proven to be the Road Warriors for the 2016 playoffs. The Blues are 5-2 when donning their road white sweaters.
If the Sharks’ success can continue at home then rekindling the Teal’s road magic may serve as the biggest key for captain Joe Pavelski and company. Keep in mind, the first two games will be played in St. Louis at the Scotttrade Center.
3.) It’s The Sharks Time, Finally
This year’s Western Conference Final marks the seventh straight year that a California-based team will be competing to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. And, only the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks have had more Conference Finals appearances than San Jose since 2010.
The Sharks have rewritten their playoff script and have seemed to wash away their postseason woes, for now. Still, this year’s club under head coach Peter Deboer have displayed a different swagger, and it looks like the Teal are finally on its way to a Stanley Cup Final.
Why not: This hockey enthusiasts prediction for the series
Sharks in seven. Goaltender Martin Jones will pan out to be the series MVP.
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