Sharks look to finally break through
A quick glance the at the Western Conference matchups:
(1) San Jose (51-20-11, 113 points) vs. (8) Colorado (43-30-9, 95 points)
The skinny: The Sharks won back-to-back conference titles in the West, but the lack of playoff success since the lockout continues to cast doubt in San Jose. The last time the two teams met, the Avalanche needed a win to clinch a playoff spot and beat the Sharks in overtime.
Season series — San Jose 2-1-1
- Jeff Marek — San Jose in 5.
- Scott Morrison — San Jose in 5.
- Tim Wharnsby — San Jose in 4.
(2) Chicago (52-22-8, 112 points) vs. (7) Nashville (47-29-6, 100 points)
The skinny: The two teams haven't met since Dec. 27. The Predators were the better team in the final quarter with a 13-6-1 record, while the Blackhawks finished at an 11-6-3 clip.
Season series — Chicago 4-2-0
- Jeff Marek — Chicago in 6.
- Scott Morrison — Chicago in 7.
- Tim Wharnsby — Nashville in 6.
(3) Vancouver (49-28-5, 103 points) vs. (6) Los Angeles (46-27-9, 101 points)
The skinny: The Kings are making their first playoff appearance since 2002 and netminder Jonathan Quick is a playoff rookie. Netminder Roberto Luongo, shaky since the Olympics, will be on the hot seat for Vancouver. Remember the last time the two teams met, Luongo gave up eight goals on 29 shots on Apr. 1.
Season series — Vancouver 3-1-0
- Jeff Marek — Los Angeles in 7.
- Scott Morrison — Vancouver in 6.
- Tim Wharnsby — Vancouver in 6
(4) Phoenix (50-25-7, 107 points) vs. (5) Detroit (44-24-14, 102 points)
The skinny: The two hottest teams since the Olympic break meet. The Red Wings went 16-3-2, compared to the Coyotes run of 13-4-2 to close the season.
Season series — Detroit 2-0-2
- Jeff Marek — Detroit in 4.
- Scott Morrison — Detroit in 6.
- Tim Wharnsby — Detroit in 6.