2012 NHL Playoffs: Blues Face San Jose Sharks In First Round

The 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway, and the Blues drew a very favorable match-up in the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks, by virtue of winning 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings, determined the final placements in the Western Conference.

The Western Conference playoff bracket looks like this:

The Blues drew the better of the two teams in the chase for the last two playoff spots ... better for the Blues, that is. The Blues are a perfect 4-0-0 against the San Jose Sharks this season, while the Blues were 1-2-1 against the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings' goaltending combo was second to St. Louis in the NHL in excellence, while the Sharks' goaltending duo of Antti Niemi and Thomas Greiss isn't the one-two knockout punch that Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott are.

The Sharks do have three 30-goal scorers that the Blues need to watch out for in Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and Patrick Marleau. Their main set-up man is Joe Thornton, who has an impressive 59 assists and 77 points to lead their team in scoring.

The Blues have a chance to settle old scores against the Sharks, who were the team that defeated them in the last Stanley Cup playoffs before the lockout. The Sharks also dealt the Blues a knockout first round punch the season that they won the Presidents' Trophy. The only guy around who remembers the last time these two teams met is Barret Jackman, but that doesn't necessarily matter. What matters is that the Blues continue goaltending dominance into the playoffs and past the first round, and the Sharks could well be the perfect team to test that mighty home-ice advantage out on.

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