How the West Is Won: Blues, Sharks Advance via Tense Games 7

Published on 9-May-2019 by J Square Humboldt

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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How the West Is Won: Blues, Sharks Advance via Tense Games 7

NHL Commish Gary Bettman still isn't the most popular dude when he makes on-ice appearances.

Strikes and lockouts will cause that.

Gotta say, though, dude believed a hard salary cap would create parity, and that's definitely happened this season.

  • All four division winners didn't make it past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and
  • Two of them fell to each division's wild-card entries.

 

So far this spring, there have been 15 playoff games that have gone into overtime.

Nine of them have been in the West, with two going to double-overtime and another that coulda if the most minor of details had not happened.

There's no margin for error out there.

 

Gabriel Landeskog, of all skaters, lapsed for a mere moment, and it cost the Colorado Avalanche a goal in their Game 7 showdown in San José

Chaos Theory suggests that it may have only been one of a thousand random events and thus not directly affecting the outcome, but given that the Sharks won, 3-2, the Av's captain's mistake did kinda stand out:

 

Yes, it's a BS call. Dude had absolutely nothing to do with the action in a sport where player changes on the fly is a routine part of the game. However, with the Big Brother application of replay in sports, players have gotta be aware of the consequences.

And yes, San José had a goal disallowed, too, but Colin Wilson's was vanilla.

So, the reality was the Sharks move on to the Western final with this 3-2 victory that marked the return of Joe Pavelski:

 

Waiting for them will be the St Louis Blues, who put together two of the hardest-skating periods -- the second and third -- that the NHL's seen all season.

For example, the Blues' dominance in shots on goal in the third period was 12-2.

 

Goalies Jordan Binnington and Ben Bishop were incredible in this one.

After each surrendered a goal in the first period, dudes stood on their respective next three periods before Patrick Maroon knocked in a rebound in the second overtime for a 2-1 triumph and a continuance of the dream to claim their first-ever Stanley Cup:

 

There's a feelgood reach in San José, too. Joe Thornton's 39 -- dude's bird's-nest beard makes him out as 79 -- and wants to cap his 21-season career with a Cup.

Of course, there's no guarantee either's ambition will be realized this season. Boston or Carolina will figure into the equation before that.

The battle to win the West, though, looks to be anything but a shootout. It's shaping up to be the sorta clash grinder and goalie fans are gonna love.