Apr 27, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues center Jaden Schwartz (9) is congratulated after scoring his second goal of the game against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period at the Scottrade Center. The Blues defeated the Blackhawks 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Can the St. Louis Blues Win the Stanley Cup in the 2013 Playoffs?

The St. Louis Blues are still searching for their first Stanley Cup as a franchise, but could 2013 be the year that the streak is snapped?  While it may seem like a stretch to most St. Louis Blues fans, let’s not forget how well this team has played since the acquisitions of Jordan Leopold and Jay Bouwmeester.

When the Blues defense is hot the rest of the team seems to follow.  With confidence in the defense in front of them, Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott are able to do incredible things.  The offense has the ability to forecheck more than they would typically and the team as a whole seems to play their best hockey.

Unfortunately for the St. Louis Blues, 2013 is probably not the year that the Cupless streak will end.  Analysts around the NHL are quickly picking the team they think will be able to skate home with the Cup and are of course leaning toward the heavily stacked Pittsburgh Penguins and the league leading Chicago Blackhawks.  For a long time I have said that I do not believe that the Blackhawks will be able to sustain their play all year and that the playoffs would be the time Chicago would have the most trouble.  The Penguins are the obvious choice for most, but health will be a concern as they have had seemingly constant injuries.  The play of Marc-Andre Fleury will also be key to the Pens being able to go the distance, but if he starts to falter they could be in bad shape.

Last season the Los Angeles Kings showed the world that the NHL is not the league it used to be and that a team that gets hot at the right time could make a quick run to a cup.  For the St. Louis Blues’ sake, let’s hope that their current winning ways can continue and the chance of a cup becomes a much more believable task.

The first round will be very telling for this Blues team.  They are in the playoffs for the second straight season but will face off against  the defending champs and the team that eliminated them with ease last season.  Through three games this season the Blues were unable to best the Kings, but did not face the team once they had seemed to find their stride.  If the Blues can keep rolling and eliminate the Kings, their confidence could be high heading into the second round and then the Blues become real contenders.

Tomorrow night should be a great matchup.  Let’s hope the Blues deliver and start a long playoff run, but for some reason they falter, we will always have next year.


-Alex Hodchayan

Tags: Chicago Blackhawks Los Angeles Kings Pittsburgh Penguins Playoffs St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup

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