The NHL Playoffs are finally upon us, which means it’s time to look ahead to what the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs hold. From the best team in hockey down to those who limped in at the very end of the season, this year’s field is loaded with teams itching to see their championship dreams realized. All the action kicks off April 30th, so let’s take a look at what’s in store for the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks.
|SERIES G||TIME (ET)||#3 VS. #6||NETWORKS|
|WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 2013||10:30 P.M.||SAN JOSE AT VANCOUVER||NBCSN, TSN|
|FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2013||10 P.M.||SAN JOSE AT VANCOUVER||CNBC, TSN|
|SUNDAY, MAY 5, 2013||10 P.M.||VANCOUVER AT SAN JOSE||NBCSN, TSN|
|TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013||10 P.M.||VANCOUVER AT SAN JOSE||CNBC, TSN|
|*THURSDAY, MAY 9, 2013||10 P.M.||SAN JOSE AT VANCOUVER||TSN|
|*SATURDAY, MAY 11, 2013||TBD||VANCOUVER AT SAN JOSE||TSN|
|*MONDAY, MAY 13, 2013||TBD||SAN JOSE AT VANCOUVER||TSN|
The Canucks are back in the postseason again thanks to some brilliant play by the Sedin brothers. But the question again this season is if they can keep everything going in the postseason or will it all collapse around them again? The top two lines for the Canucks are just outstanding and loaded with talent, but lines three and four thin out considerably and it calls into question whether or not this team is deep enough to make a run at the Blackhawks in the West.
San Jose Sharks:
The Sharks are making a habit out of making it to the postseason, but they have yet to make it past the Conference Finals. This season might be the year they do it as San Jose happens to have the one thing a lot of teams in the West seem to be missing — ace goaltending. Netminder Antti Niemi has been outstanding all season long and if he can keep it going, the Sharks will be able to live with mistakes as Niemi will clean things up. But with the Sharks moving to a more conservative style of play, all it takes is one mistake to sink the ship, as the explosiveness as been replaced and holes are harder to dig out of.
Keeping mistakes to a minimum will be key for either side in this one. The Canucks have questions about their depth but they could be carried by their top two, star packed lines. A similar thing can be said about the Sharks, who will rely not on a top line but on netminder Antti Niemi to carry the team and gobble up defensive mistakes. But with these two teams being to reliant on single aspects of their game, all it will take is one mistake to send someone packing.
Prediction: San Jose Sharks win series 4-2