Final Regular Season Records:
San Jose Barracuda: 43-16-4-5 (95 pts — 1st in Pacific Division and Western Conference)
Stockton Heat: 34-25-7-2 (77 pts — 4th in Pacific Division, 7th in Western Conference)
Series Schedule: (Home Team in BOLD CAPS and all times local):
Game 1 – Friday, April 21 – Stockton at SAN JOSE 7:00 pm PT
Game 2 – Sunday, April 23 – Stockton at SAN JOSE 3:00 pm PT
Game 3 – Friday, April 28 – San Jose at STOCKTON 7:00 pm PT
*Game 4 – Sunday, April 30 – San Jose at STOCKTON 4:00 pm PT
*Game 5 – Tuesday, May 2 – Stockton at SAN JOSE 7:00 pm PT
Season Series Recap:
San Jose won the season series going 7-5-0-0 against the Heat, two of those wins coming in extra time. It was a very tight series, with San Jose outscoring the Heat 37-35. There was quite a lot of offense in this series, it looks like the goaltending will most likely be the biggest factor.
How Stockton Wins:
This is very simple but Stockton wins the series by not changing what got them to the playoffs. They ended the season on an 11-game point streak and playing their best hockey all season. The Heat are no doubt coming into this series as the underdogs, which could be good for them. If the Heat can get a solid first game and push San Jose into a bit of a panic mode then the pressure will likely get to San Jose.
The main key for the Heat in the series and the games is to have good starts to their games, with a second key being for them to get under the Barracuda’s skin. If the Heat is able to win the special teams game, that could be the difference.
Obviously goaltending is important, with San Jose peppering goaltenders with lots of shots. In their last meeting of the year, David Rittich made 47 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss, the Heat need goaltending like that to win this series.
How San Jose Wins:
San Jose needs to be very smart with the puck in order to win. Time and time again, the Heat have turned a small turnover into a scoring chance and often a goal. They also need to be careful in the neutral zone as they Heat are a very fast team and have a strong breakout game.
And most of all, play a very physical game. The Heat have a few big bodies but a large amount of their team is smaller and faster. If San Jose can play a very physical style of game they will have an easier time forcing the Heat to get away from their speed game. If San Jose gets a multi-goal lead they need to be extra smart, several times this year the Heat have come back from a multi-goal deficit to win, that is where clogging up the neutral zone is very important.
Who Ya Got?
Let us know who you are taking in this series and in how many games!