The records and the seeds do not matter. There is no doubt the Blues are favourites, but this is one of the top picks for a true upset, as well (i.e. not those that are almost evenly-matched).
But the Sharks actually have almost all the intangibles. They came into the playoffs stronger, are more desperate, the underdog yet the team with playoff success.
You would think from the choker label on them that they had not been to two consecutive conference finals. The Blues have not won a playoff series in nearly a decade and career-Shark Patrick Marleau personally has been a part of beating them twice in the first round.
This series can be had for either team. The one that pulls it off gains respect.
Are the San Jose Sharks a waning star that never burned quite brightly enough to be a Stanley Cup finalist? The St. Louis Blues are a rising star, but are they ready for prime time right now?
If San Jose can rise up and teach a lesson to an upstart team, they can begin to excuse the regular season as one big hiccup. If St. Louis can avenge the city's last two series defeats and the theft of Kyle Wellwood, they are contenders, not pretenders.
Series this even often go to the team that wins the most big matchups. In each of the following situations, I give you the matchups to watch that will forecast the outcome of the series.