NHL Playoffs 2012: What the Season Series Between Blues and Sharks Have Shown Us
For the first time in almost a decade, the Sharks suffered a full series sweep against the Blues during this year's regular season.
Sharks fans are more than insecure when the postseason comes around. They've almost grown to accept the Sharks "choker" label by other fans in the NHL, and when the Blues were announced as their opponents in the first series, the insecurities grew larger.
So let's take a look at what the season series between the Sharks and Blues showed us this year.
Back to Backs
It should be known that three of the four games the Sharks played against the Blues this year were during a series of back to backs.
Sharks fans usually have a full closet of excuses ready for rebuttal when they are confronted, but this is a legitimate excuse. In their fourth and final loss to the Blues this season, they had a day of rest, and while they still lost it was a much more valiant effort.
The lesson here? As long as the Sharks have their day of rest to recuperate and do their work in the video room, they'll fair better against the Blues.
Since almost forever, Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock has been a thorn in the Sharks' side. And that's because he brings a system with him.
There's no need for me to explain the ruthless trap that the Blues have been running all season because everyone is more than aware by now.
But as ruthless as it might be, there is a way to beat it. There always is.
More than any factor, I contribute the Sharks not being able to figure out how to break this trap as the main reason for being swept by the Blues this season.
As long as the Sharks are avoiding Dan Boyle's drop passes at the blue line, getting the puck deep and moving their feet continuously, the Blues trap should be solved in no time.
Traffic Traffic Traffic
As Sharks radio man Jamie Baker would say, this is one area where you have to "feed the chickens." The Sharks were virtually molested during the regular season while trying to crash the net.
I've always said that 80 percent of this game is mental, and it can't be proven any more than the Cinderella season Blues goaltender Brian Elliot had this season.
Because believe me when I say, he's not that good.
As they've done in previous postseason's with goalies like Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Quick and many others, the Sharks need to crowd the paint, get in the goalies face and the goals will come.
Otherwise, the Blues will run the Sharks right out of town.
Focus on the Now
More than anything, the Sharks have to remain headstrong.
We've seen them get in funks several times during losing streaks or just because of losing a single game. If they let back for one second, the Blues are just the type of team to see that weakness and exploit it.
It's really simple: come to the rink, lace the skates, do the job, and the Sharks should have no trouble outside of the norm against the Blues.
David is a lifelong fan of the Sharks and has been playing hockey since the age of 3. Please feel free to comment, give feedback on all of his articles and talk to him on Twitter: @TheReal_DB3! For every 300 followers, he'll give 1K to an NHL Charity!