The St. Louis Blues seem safely in control of the Central Division lead – and the first or second seed that should come with it – so you can forgive people for imagining potential first round opponents. Any number of interesting Western Conference opponents are plausible,* but former player Terry Yake picked on the San Jose Sharks as a particularly beatable potential draw:
A matchup to avoid
Personally, the Kings seem like a nightmare matchup for the Blues because – in many ways – they bring many of the same strengths to the table. Each squad might not score a lot but has some solid offensive talent (Los Angeles has a higher ceiling, the Blues have superior depth), both boast strong defensive structures and daunting goalie duos.
Sizing up the Sharks
The Sharks, on the other hand, carry uneven characteristics but shouldn’t be totally dismissed. (Not with that high-end talent on hand nor a respectable +10 goal differential despite a shaky record.)
Those age-old Washington Capitals-like criticisms about “heart” and “choking” do indeed make the Sharks an easy target for prognosticators, however, and this season hasn’t provided their best work. That’s especially true against the Blues; St. Louis swept the season series with an 8-1 total score, so perhaps that’s a big part of “Yake’s take.”
With all that in mind, do you think that San Jose be the best possible draw for the Blues or would they be lucky to get a different seventh or eighth seed opponent?
* – If the Blues draw a first or second seed, they could face any one of Dallas, Phoenix, San Jose, Los Angeles, Colorado or even Calgary depending upon how the stretch run goes.