The final Western match-up is now set, is it fair to call it the 'lucky' Sharks versus the Binnington Blues?
<div><h2>Blues v Sharks</h2><p>Forget about the drama, forget about the poor officiating; every team that has ever reached this point of the playoffs has had some calls go there way and lucky bounces. Both the Sharks AND the Blues had fortunate periods of time. Anyone recall the shot off of Bishop's collar in Game 6? Turning point much? What if the referee accidentally blows the whistle there. It would have been a mistake that erased a critical goal. Was McKinnon offside a decade ago there and the goal disallowed? Probably not. However, our primary purpose here is to bet hockey, not engage in the quality of officiating. So let's move on and try to create an objective picture of <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/hockey/us/national-hockey-league/" target="_blank">the final Western match-up</a>.</p><p>The Blues and Sharks met in the WCF back in 2016, however it seems both have become even more distinct since then. The Blues are very comfortable defending until they get their opportunities on the counter-attack. Their Game 7 dominance was an outlier in terms of the way most of their playoff games have run. They utilize their defencemen for occasional point shots and on the powerplay, but otherwise are fine keeping them back in position. Against a fast aggressive, offensive-minded forward core this is probably the best approach.</p><p>Martin Jones has shown up in a big way throughout these playoffs. He hasn't been a wall in every game, evidenced by the many put past him, but he has done just enough for his team to get them this far. I do not want to take anything away from the Sharks getting this far, but they have certainly just scrapped by. It troubles me that they often are seen running around their d-zone a bit directionless. My biggest concern for them is that their excellent set of forwards won't be good enough in the back-end; especially if Pavelski can't put up his usual minutes. Jones is going to need to be far better than Binnington or an average Blues offence will be able to score on them easier than any team so far.</p><p>The Sharks have shown amazing resilience to battle to this point. As a longtime fan of Jumbo Joe, I would like nothing more than to see him lift the cup finally this year. That said, the value is squarely with the Blues for this one and they're the sharp play here. As posted in the outrights article last month, I have both Sharks and Blues to win the Western Conference so I'll be looking to play both sides here for some more plus odds - enjoy this excellent battle!</p><p>Bet: St Louis Blues (ml) @ 2.25 [<a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=3e56a0bf-7bdf-4fe1-b9a6-d22c7cc3dd2c&f=1" target="_blank">Betway</a>]</p></div>