San Jose Sharks Series Predictions Vs. Blues

Feb 22, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) is congratulated by defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44) after scoring a goal against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at Scottrade Center. The Sharks defeated the Blues 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 22, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) is congratulated by defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44) after scoring a goal against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at Scottrade Center. The Sharks defeated the Blues 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s that time again as the staff at Blades of Teal makes their predictions for the Western Conference Final.

The Blades of Teal staff has picked the San Jose Sharks to advance to this point throughout these playoffs, although the length of each has varied.

Will we continue to ride with the boys in teal or are the St. Louis Blues the ones to end this playoff ride for San Jose? Check it out as we make our predictions for third round:

Bradley Phillips, Staff Writer

I know the narrative of these playoffs have been based around teams exorcising their playoff demons such as the Sharks and Blues, but this feels like an unstoppable force meeting and unmovable object to me.

These two teams were the hottest teams in the Western Conference entering the playoffs so the fact they are meeting in the conference finals shouldn’t be much of a surprise. So if the Sharks will want to advance to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance, they will have to stick with what has worked for them so far. That will include using their scoring depth, capitalizing on special teams and good goaltending.

Speaking of goaltending, the Sharks will have to play against one of the more interesting goalies in the NHL in Brian Elliott. I say this because Elliott seems to do the opposite of what I expect. More than anyone, people assume his career is over but every time he is able to bounce back and play well. I don’t think the Sharks will underestimate him but Elliott’s confidence level is something to watch this series.

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Another factor to watch is the defense for the Blues. While the Sharks just finished off one of the best defenses in the league in Nashville. They will face a similar opponent here. With depth that the Blues have on defense including Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jay Bouwmeester and rookie sensation Colton Parayko, scoring goals could be more of a challenge than expected.

That being said, the Blues still needed seven games to finish off a Dallas Stars team with suspect goaltending and without Tyler Seguin so I like the Sharks chances. However, if the Sharks can’t contain Vladimir Tarasenko or Robby Fabbri they will be in trouble.

I want to find a reason to pick the Blues here but the Sharks have too many advantages over St. Louis. They draw even on goaltending and defense and have the advantage on special teams. I’m also confident that Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski will dominate most competition they play against.

Let’s be glad that for the first time this playoffs, the Sharks will be playing an opponent that is not the top possession team remaining. That is because they claimed that title for themselves. I just hope that isn’t a curse rather than a blessing.

Prediction: Sharks in 7

Mike McCareins, Staff Writer

As you progress in the playoffs, it typically becomes harder to win series, and that was certainly the case for the Sharks against the Predators. Typically, that would hold true in this matchup with the Blues, who have now defeated the defending Stanley Cup champions and the top seed in the Western Conference to get here.

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Like Nashville, St. Louis has depth at the blue-line, and a ton of it at that. Alex Pietrangelo is an elite NHL defenseman, Kevin Shattenkirk would be the best D-man on many non-playoff teams, Jay Bouwmeester defines what it means to be a defensive-defenseman and Colton Parayko may be the next star defenseman in the league. What they have that Nashville didn’t, though, is an All-World sniper, and top three goalscorer in the league, in Vladimir Tarasenko.

Yet, I think the Sharks pounding Nashville in Game 7 has reminded them of how they dominated the Kings in the previous series. It’s hard to pick out one player on the entire roster that didn’t play well in Game 7. People forget the Dallas Stars needed six (nearly it was seven) games to beat a depleted Minnesota Wild team, and they didn’t have Tyler Seguin for the entire Blues series. With the Stars minus Seguin, the Bluenotes have yet to face a power play as dominant as the Sharks.

It seems like many fans and experts alike are counting the Sharks out for no apparent reason just like they have with the Lightning, who took Game 1 in Pittsburgh. I have a really good feeling the Sharks use their us-against-the-world attitude and confidence from Game 7 and beat the Blues fairly handily, but it will be no small task.

Prediction: Sharks in 5

Patrick Leiva, Editor

To me, the Blues are a combination of the Sharks two previous opponents in the Kings and Predators. They like to play a heavy-forechecking game like L.A., but have the depth on defense like Nashville.

In previous years, San Jose has fared well against those heavier-type teams because they possess a lot of big bodies themselves. St. Louis is likely the deepest team remaining in these playoffs, but team teal can match up fairly well with them.

The Sharks will have to win the special teams battle in this series, and I think they will because of how well they’re clicking. Also, look for San Jose to use their speed whenever possible which has given St. Louis trouble at times throughout these playoffs.

Next: Sharks: Why They Will Or Won't Advance Past Blues

Dallas took the Blues to the brink with questionable goaltending at best, and the Sharks should be able to create scoring opportunities like the Stars were able to throughout that series.

I know both teams feel like they’re on a mission and rewriting their franchise narratives, but this feels like the Sharks time to finally break through.

Prediction: Sharks in 7