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Blues center Ryan O’Reilly reacts to the Sharks’ game-tying goal with 61 seconds left in the third period on Game 3 on May 15. If he only knew what was going to transpire next. (Jeff Roberson)
Blues center Ryan O’Reilly reacts to the Sharks’ game-tying goal with 61 seconds left in the third period on Game 3 on May 15. If he only knew what was going to transpire next. (Jeff Roberson)|Associated Press
NHL

NHL Friday: Vetrone on Sharks v Blues . . . and an early tip on the Stanley Cup Finals

Bob Vetrone

Bob Vetrone

Sharks (+120) at Blues (5.5)
Pick: Sharks +120

So the Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins are home safe and snug in their beds and their ice baths after a Conference Finals sweep of the Hurricanes. Meanwhile, the two Saints – Louis and Jose – are battling it out out West for the right to lose to the Bs in the Finals. (Yeah, you read that right. No extra cost for the early prediction.)

Considering that the road team is 11-5 so far in the Blues’ three playoff series, it could be after Memorial Day before Boston has to hit the road again. Do not underestimate that when a Finals selection – especially Game 1 - needs to be made.

Meanwhile, the Blues were just over a minute away from putting themselves on a downhill course to their first Finals since 1970 (lost to the Bruins and the high-flying Bobby Orr), about to go up 2-1 with Game 4 at home when the Sharks tied Game 3 and then won it in overtime on a goal that is still being replayed on midwestern DVRs non-stop. (This week, Missouri has become Show Me the Hand Pass State.)

If the Blues can shake off that controversy and get back to where they were – they had outscored the Sharks, 8-4, over the previous five periods before the game-tying goal – they can get right back in it.

But it says here they won’t. The Blues let the series slip away and there is no getting it back now. San Jose - the better team - heads back west with a 3-1 lead and we can start readying for the first coast-to-coast Final since 2014 (Kings-Rangers).