After blowing a 3-0 opening series lead against the Los Angeles Kings in 2014, and missing out on the playoffs altogether last year, the San Jose Sharks came into this year’s playoffs looking for blood, as sharks are wont to do, and man did they ever find it.
They found themselves again pitted against the Kings in the first round—a Kings team that, by and large, isn’t that much different than that ’14 squad that ended up winning The Cup. But unlike 2014, the Sharks came in as underdogs, starting the series on away ice, and brought with them a reputation for being able to close out some damn games. What resulted was a complete dismantling of an experienced LA team via smoother stick handling, being more physical and getting under their skin, and a devastating power play unit that just could not stop laying waste on the ice.
With the other three western conference series going at least six games each, I’m beginning to think that this Sharks team might have what it takes to make a Cup run. Looking ahead to potential match-ups, we have them next squaring up against either Nashville or Anaheim, two teams who just don’t seem to want to win at home. (Not to mention Anaheim began their series playing like whatever the opposite of the rap air horn is.) On the other end of the bracket are an overrated Blues team, a flaccid Blackhawks squad, and a Wild team that has no business winning two games against the Stars, who are melting down before our eyes.
We may very well witness back-to-back-to-back major league seasons with a Bay Area team in their respective championships. (It is an even-numbered year, after all.)