San Jose Sharks: Who is Their Best First Round Playoff Matchup?


With the Sharks more than likely to get into the playoffs (96% chance according to Sports Club Stats), we can start looking at who they might be playing in the playoffs.  There are still all kinds of possibilities, and there still is a chance that they miss the playoffs; but what fun would that be?  Here’s our breakdown of the most possible playoff matchups, again according to Sports Club Stats

Los Angeles Kings… 35% chance
Vancouver Canucks… 21.7% chance
Anaheim Ducks… 20.9% chance
St. Louis Blues… 8.2% chance
Chicago Blackhawks… 7.7% chance

Right off the bat we see there is a clear difference from the top three (above a 20% chance) and the bottom two (below 10%) but we will go with the top five possible teams so we can have a nice comprehensive list. The list is in order from worst to best.

#5 Chicago Blackhawks: The Chicago Blackhawks would probably be the worst possible matchup for the Sharks for plenty of reasons. First off, they allow the second-least amount of goals per game in the NHL, something that does not bode well for a Sharks team that struggles to score.

To make matters worse, San Jose is 0-3 versus Chicago this season, two of which were in Chicago.  Also, the Blackhawks are the only team in the league to have beaten San Jose at HP Pavillion in regulation this season, so they can win anywhere.  On the plus side this matchup most likely not happen in the first round and that will definitely be for the best.

# 4 Anaheim Ducks: Even though the Sharks beat them in the season series 3-2 do not sleep on the ducks.  They have an incredible top set of forwards which includes Corry Perry, Teemu Selanne and Corry Getzlaf to name a few.  Goaltender Viktor Fasth has not been the same since his injury midway through the season, but if he can return to form, the Ducks could probably cut through the Sharks pretty easily.

Their biggest weakness seems to be their 22nd ranked penalty kill, something the Sharks would have to jump on if they played the Ducks.  Other than that, however, this team has a little bit of everything, and are seventh in the league in both goals for and goals against per game.

Mar 14, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) takes the puck away from Los Angeles Kings center Colin Fraser (24) before he takes a shot during the third period at the HP Pavilion. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

#3 Los Angeles Kings: They are one of the most physical teams in the league and in the playoffs that can give the Sharks plenty of problems.  Although San Jose has added Raffi Torres it is still questionable as to what his impact will be during the post-season.  I expect L.A. to play some hard-nosed and skillful hockey like they did last year although there is one thing missing from that team; goaltending.

While the Kings have had Jonathan Quick play a majority of their games this season he has been anything but stellar and is definitely their weakest link heading into the playoffs.  Thus their defense will have to perform stronger than they did last year unless they get some of that goaltending magic back on their side.

#2 Vancouver Canucks:  Surprisingly sitting at number two, the Canucks are 0-3 against the Sharks this season.  Part of that is because the Canucks have been bitten by the injury bug all season and rarely had a chance to play with all of their top guys on the ice.

Still, even with the Sedin twins, I think that might hurt them come playoff time because they will be missing a bit of team continuity which is vital during the post season.  Plus, they will be playing against a Sharks team which is gelling better at this point than it has all season.  Also, Vancouver is a much less physical team than the others on this list (except Chicago, who is dead last) and while San Jose is not either they have definitely shown they can play physically.

Apr 9, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) reaches for the loose puck after a save by Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (72) during the third period at Nationwide Arena. Columbus defeated San Jose 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

#1 St. Louis Blues: Their additions at the blue-line of Jofferey Lupul and Jay Boumeester have definitely bolstered their back-end and give them some great offensive abilities as well. With that being said they are sit at about a 1:1 ratio when you look at goals scored versus goals allowed and an above average power play (10th best) will be something the Sharks can handle.

Even their goaltending has been suspect this year, no doubt due to the injury to Jaroslav Halak.  Their biggest strength is the penalty kill and that could cause the power play some problems, but if that would be the greatest hurdle the Sharks would have to face then I like this matchup the best.