The San Jose Sharks now knows who their opposition will be for the Western Conference Finals. Via a Game 6 victory against Vancouver, the Chicago Blackhawks earned the right to face San Jose for the right to play for the Stanley Cup.
San Jose finished the regular season as the top club in the Western Conference and the Blackhawks finished second.
“They were a point behind us in the standings and were good all year,” said Rob Blake. “They were in the conference finals last year. They are a team with a lot of motion and a lot of good young scorers.”
San Jose had a 1-1-2 record against Chicago, acquiring four of a possible eight points in the regular season.
“That’s just a guideline to understand systems,” said Blake of what the regular season games mean to the players. “It doesn’t mean a lot when it’s the playoffs.”
Patrick Kane led Chicago with 88 points and 30 goals, but the Blackhawks attack is well balanced with six 20 goal scorers.
“They’ve got great young players,” said Scott Nichol. “They’ve got Seabrook and Keith on the point and both are Olympians. They move the puck very well. They don’t give it up too often. They create a lot of movement with their defensemen and forwards in our defensive zone. We’ve got to be on our toes and take time and space away from those guys and not let them free wheel around.”
The offenses for both teams are talented, but both have proven to be sound on the defensive end as well.
“They are a very good team, you don’t get to the final four without having a very talented group of players,” said Sharks Head Coach McLellan. “They are very well coached and are well prepared. Chicago, for as well as they played offensively, they didn’t give up many shots on goal during the year.”
The schedule for the San Jose and Chicago matchup won’t be officially released until the Eastern Conference’s second round games conclude.