(HockeyStL) -- The Blues are back in playoffs for just the second time in the last seven years, and the first time in three years.
“It’s do or die time, it’s our troops against theirs, a war to stay alive,” Blues Captain David Backes said.
You would think sweeping a team during four regular season games would paint a clear picture of which club should, and will win the playoff series. But with the Blues and Sharks, figuring out which team has the advantage isn’t easy. The Blues swept the Sharks this year (4-0) and outscored them 11-3. But while the Note stumbled down the stretch, San Jose soared, winning seven of nine to close out the regular season. The Sharks have three 30-goal scorers and their franchise has been to the Stanley Cup semifinals the last two years.
Backes said the club won’t take the Sharks for granted.
“They don’t give us credit for any of those four wins in the postseason, so whatever is the past is the past, and we need to play that sort of game where we’re hard nose making them earn all of their ice,” said Backes.
The last time the Blues won a playoff series was in 2002, so naturally there’s extra pressure to score its first playoff series victory in a decade.
News 4 Sports’ Jeff Abeln asked Ken Hitchcock, who coached the Dallas Stars to a Stanley Cup title in 1999, about dealing with the pressure of playing on hockey’s biggest stage. He’s telling his players to ‘embrace it.’
“If there’s pressure, big deal. The pressure to perform is always there, the players can handle that, it’s all the crap around it. Just understand the event itself has enough pressure in it, just don’t dial it up three days in advance or worry about it today. We don’t need to bring anything to the rink until we have to come to the rink on Thursday and play. You could spend so much time, wasted energy talking about it, no offense, but dealing with all those issues, that you get stressed out. The event itself, when you walk out of the building and the place is going crazy, that’ll jack you up enough, just get yourself focused and ready,” said Hitchcock.