The San Jose Sharks played lackluster and uninspired hockey in the final game of the season against the Los Angeles Kings. Maybe the Sharks didn’t want to play the red-hot St. Louis Blues in the first round of the NHL playoffs.
Despite the rather anticlimactic end to the lockout-shortened NHL season for the Sharks, the team is playing its best hockey at the best time. Antti Niemi continues to be the best player on the ice nearly every single night, and San Jose’s newfound youth and speed have them becoming a real force to worry about in the playoffs.
The Sharks simply match up better on paper with the Canucks, rather than the Kings or Blues. The Kings are defending Stanley Cup champions with a goalie who has the ability to take over pivotal games in Jonathan Quick.
The Blues defense, led by red-hot goalie Brian Elliot, continues to be their biggest weapon, and being winners in 12 of their final 15 games of the season makes them one of the hottest teams entering the playoffs.
In a way, San Jose got the better end of a disappointing end to the season. They will not have home-ice advantage, but the Sharks will match up extremely well with a higher-seeded team that took the loss in all three meetings this season.