St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks Game 1
Money Line: St. Louis+106/San Jose-126
Puck Line: St. Louis-250/San Jose+207
Both St. Louis and San Jose needed seven games in the second round to advance to the Western Conference Finals. The Blues did so with a thrilling 2-1 double-overtime victory against the Dallas Stars. The Sharks did it with another somewhat controversial Game 7 win, 3-2 over the Colorado Avalanche.
This is a rematch of the 2016 Western Conference finals, which was won by the Sharks. San Jose also won two-out-of-three games during the regular season. The Sharks only finished two points ahead of the Blues this season, so we can certainly expect another hard-fought series that sees six or even seven games.
San Jose goalie Martin Jones had an impressive series against the Avalanche and looked the best he has all season. He made countless saves against close ranged opportunities that helped the Sharks prevail over the Avs. Jones will need to play just as good, or even better if the Sharks want to move on to the Stanley Cup Finals.
St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington has been even better than Jones. Binnington only allowed two goals in the last two games of the series against Dallas and has been a big part of the Blues late-season success. The Blues were in last place on January 3, and have been one of the best teams in hockey since.
2016 was the last time the Sharks made it to the Stanley Cup Final, while the Blues haven’t been to there since 1970. This should be a physical series that I think favors the Blues in the end. St. Louis is bigger, stronger, and younger than San Jose and they have the kind of defense that can shut the Sharks down. The Blues have been a great road team this postseason (5-1), so they should have no trouble picking up a win or two on the road in this series. I think St. Louis steals Game 1 and puts early pressure on the Sharks.
St. Louis 4 – San Jose 2