After splitting the first two home games with the Sharks, the Blues now travel to San Jose to play a pair at the HP Pavilion. The various previews that were written for this playoff series were quick to point out the advantage that the Sharks held in playoff experience. There is certainly a difference in playoff-level play, and being aware and prepared for that is definitely an edge. I believe that is a big reason for the outcome of Game 1.
Then Game 2 happened. The abilities of our youngsters, the influence of our veterans, and the capable coaching of Hitchcock bridged that gap in a hurry. They may not be on an absolute level playing field in this regards, but the discrepancy between the two is not nearly as marked as before.
In the words of Coach 'Cock:
"They pushed us hard," Hitchcock said. "We grew up to the level of what it takes to win against a team that knows how to do it. We have some more knowledge that we need to compete at this level at this time of year. I thought we really grew up."
On a similar note, the Sharks also got some education in Game 2. For one, watch how you clear a puck from the crease. Secondly, the Blues will not be pushed around or physically intimidated. Liberties taken with our players will be returned in kind. ... and will be backed up with whatever fisticuffs are necessary. In the regular season, Vladimir Sobotka had a grand total of 0 major penalties; Roman Polak had 3 (and one was for slashing). Despite not being known as scrappers, I believe that it's safe to say that Dominic Moore and Justin Braun will think again before throwing down with those two.
Whether you apply it to allowing the Sharks to take a game in your house by out-gritting you, or biting off more than you can chew in a fight, the lesson is the same:
Musical note: although this cover tune is the only song of theirs to crack the Billboard top 20, the band Great White has listed on Amazon MP3 a "Greatest Hits" , "Absolute Hits" and an "Essential Collection". Really?
The Enemy: Nothing much to add here, as this is the same team we've already faced twice. The only injury that was reported was Moore's broken nose, from the fight with Sobotka at the end of the game. Per our friends (still !!) that run Fear The Fin, Moore says he's good to play. Coach Todd McLellan has hinted at lineup changes, however.
Final Verse: The West Coast start means the that puck drops at 9:00 PM St Louis time. The GDT should drop shortly beforehand. Your broadcasts are on multiple outlets: Local TV will be on FoxSports MW, and outside the St Louis market the coverage will be on NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus). The radio call is once again KMOX 1120 AM. Until then, this is your pregame warmup. Gather here, place your over/under on PIMs, figure out a fitting sacrifice to the hockey gods for the healing of Jaroslav Halak and the continued health of Brian Elliott, and put on the coffee for a late one.
This same clip was shown on the Jumbotron at the games at Scottrade:
John Candy caught a shark (via bubbakushkardashian)