No word on health, scratches, or the starting lineup heading into tonight-- par for the course this time of year-- but one thing we can be certain of is tonight's starting goaltenders.
Antti Niemi will be in net for San Jose while Jaroslav Halak will get the call for St. Louis.
Something we haven't talked about in an official capacity as of late is the similarity of both the Blues Andy McDonald and the Sharks Martin Havlat, both in the sense of historical trends, seasons to date, and their playing styles.
Both McDonald and Havlat have struggled with injuries throughout this season. Both have struggled with injuries throughout their career. Both bring a distinct and rich blend of playmaking, smooth skating, and creativity to the ice. And both are standouts from their roster counterparts in that they do things a lot of players on these respective rosters don't necessarily do.
The San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues are teams built in the meat and potatoes mold for the most part-- strong, physical teams who can grind with the best of them. There is speed and creativity dispersed throughout both lineups of course, but Havlat and McDonald stand out as two players who do it better than the rest.
It's not essential for either to outplay the other, nor is it anything other than a unique storyline of two guys who have had similar career paths and play a similar game. But in the postseason we're always trying to put two and two together to make five, and I think that the play of both Havlat and McDonald could be an interesting subplot in a series that probably has too many of them to count.
Some assorted links to tide you over before game one (game one!) finally gets underway:
- David Pollak of Working The Corners talks about Perron-Thornton, the first ten minutes, and some ex-Sharks making an appearance in the series.
- Ray Ratto of CSN's Sharks Talk looks at the lineup changes that could happen and how Head Coach Todd McLellan has been recovering from his concussion.
- Kevin Kurz of CSN's Sharks Talk breaks down what to watch for tonight.
- Plenty of talk about the Blues inexperience potentially playing a factor; Tom Timmerman of St. Louis Today looks at that angle from both sides.
- The always excellent Jeremy Rutherford says Brian Elliot will be the backup, drops the goods on the Blues starting lineup, and covers some more odds and ends.
Puck drops at 4:37 PM.