The NHL's Bridesmaid Bracket Is All Knotted Up

Published on 23-May-2016 by Chips 10

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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The NHL's Bridesmaid Bracket Is All Knotted Up

Someone's gonna get the left cockle of their heart warmed.

It's about time two of the most disappointing teams over the past few years are playing for the Western Conference title and are currently locked in a 2-2 series tie.

San José and St Louis had a habit of following boffo regular seasons with early exits in Stanley Cup action. but this season, both ahve had long playoff runs, and one's assured of making it to the Finals.

The Blues, with Jake Allen replacing Brian Elliot in net, dominated the Sharks on Saturday, 6-3. That means tonight's clash in the Gateway City is a stake-raiser.

St Louis has utilized power and puck movement down the middle to dispatch defending champion Chicago and top-seeded Dallas. Not bad in a season when Ken Hitchcock's job was allegedly on the line.

Dude's been coaching on the edge all season.

Everything else seems to have fallen into place, but the Blues still face a goaltending issue.

Everyone continues to wonder whether Allen's the dude to lead them to the promised land. What's more, the Blues lost captain David Backes to injury early in the game and his status is unclear for Game 5.

San José's superior speed and ESP-level passing defeated long-time nemesis Los Angeles in the first round, followed by a thrilling seven-game victory over Nashville in the second round.

This is San José's fourth conference final. Martin Jones had been solid in goal over the past five weeks but was replaced by James Reimer in Saturday's loss.

Unlike the St. Louis situation -- or even the one in Pittsburgh right now -- the Sharks know who their goaltender  will be for the rest of their playoff run and that's Jones. Dude needs to come up big for them in Game 5.

Back when the league doubled in size with its 1966 expansion, the governors plopped all six newcomers into their own division, leaving the so-called Original Six -- this is when that term was born -- to battle among themselves to determine who'd demolish an expansion team in the Stanley Cup finals.

For the first three seasons, that was the Blues. Not bad for a franchise that only came to life because Blackhawks patriarch Bill Wirtz owned the St Louis Arena and wanted an anchor tenant; everyone else wanted Baltimore, but Wirtz had that kind of juice.

As to the Sharks, they've just never been to the Big Stage.

Enough said.