Wins shared evenly

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:33 PM ET


 SEASON SERIES:

 The teams split the series 2-2, with each team winning once in the other's building.

 LAST PLAYOFF MEETING:

 Three years ago, the Blues bettered the Sharks in six games during their first-round series.

 THE SKINNY:

 This series marks the rubber match between the Blues and Sharks, after the teams split first-round playoff series, including a surprising seven-game win in 2000 by the Sharks over the Blues, who had captured the President's Trophy ... This season, the Sharks had the fourth-best defence (183 goals against) behind G Evgeny Nabokov and G Vesa Toskala, staking them to their best-ever finish (104 points). A stretch drive, during which they lost just twice in the last 13 games (10-2-1), helped them earn second place in the Western Conference, their highest standing in their 13-year franchise history ... The Blues were solid in the final run, losing just four of their last 17 games (10-4-3) to squeak into seventh place in the west ... LW Keith Tkachuk, buoyed by the league's second-highest powerplay goal tally (18), finished with team highs in goals (33) and points (71). C Patrick Marleau paced the Sharks in points (57) and he tied RW Jonathan Cheechoo for the team lead in goals (28). RW Nils Ekman earned the most assists (33) on the Sharks ... The Blues registered the league's fifth-best powerplay at home (21.6%).

 HURTING:

 A big reason for the Blues' struggles this season was the man-games lost on the blueline, including season-ending injuries to D Al MacInnis (eye) and D Barret Jackman (shoulder). D Alex Khavanov (foot) is also out for at least the first round of the playoffs, D Steve McLaren (head) is out indefinitely and RW Mark Rycroft (leg) is listed out until late April. The Sharks have lost both LW Marco Sturm (ankle), the team's leading goal scorer last year, and RW Milan Michalek (knee) for the rest of the season. RW Scott Parker (hand) is day-to-day.

 POSSIBLE PLAYOFF HERO:

 Look to the veteran Sharks forwards who have waged many playoff wars -- C Mike Ricci, C Vinny Damphousse, C Alyn McCauley and LW Scott Thornton.


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