The second-seeded St. Louis Blues are currently the slight favorites to take the Western Conference title and advance to the 2012 Stanley Cup finals, but first they'll have to defeat their first-round opponents, the seventh-seeded San Jose Sharks.
No. 7 San Jose Sharks at No. 2 St. Louis Blues
7:30 p.m. ET Thursday -- Game 1, Western Conference Quarterfinals | Series tied, 0-0
National TV: CNBC, CBC, RDSI | Local TV: FS Midwest, CSN California
The Blues had little trouble with the Sharks during the regular season, going 4-0 against San Jose while outscoring them, 11-3. The Sharks attempted to get a head start on the "playoff choker" tag they've developed over the past decade by staging a series of mini-collapses in the second half of the regular season and nearly missing the playoffs altogether. They pulled together down the stretch to manage taking the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, but will definitely have their work cut out for them in the opening round.
The first round of NHL playoffs will air on the teams' normal, local television carriers, so fans will have one last set of games to hear their hometown announcers.
For all news and information regarding the St. Louis Blues, please visit St. Louis Game Time. For updates and perspective on the San Jose Sharks, head on over to Fear the Fin. For complete coverage of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.