One of the more interesting matchups in the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs features two perennial contenders who have failed to live up to their ultimate expectations in the postseason. The San Jose Sharks, victims of multiple early-round exits after earning high seeds with dominant regular season performance, will be the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference of the 2013 NHL Playoffs and face the No. 3 seed, Northwest Division champion Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks have the weight of poor previous performance on their shoulders, as well, having exited in the first round in 2012 despite being the No. 1 seed in 2012.
The Sharks feature plenty of notable front line talent with veterans Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau scoring alongside young phenom Logan Couture. At the trade deadline, the Sharks also traded for veteran antagonist Raffi Torres, who gained much of his notoriety during the Canucks' Stanley Cup Finals run two seasons ago. Although these teams are not division rivals, they have plenty of familiarity that's sure to breed some contempt in a competitive seven game series. The loser will walk away with another demerit on their resume as not having what it takes to win in the NHL playoffs. While that may not be entirely fair, the San Jose Sharks need to realize that their Stanley Cup legacy can only be written one round at a time, and they need to build on their regular season success against Vancouver if they hope to change people's minds.
The San Jose Sharks weren't able to gain home ice advantage in the first round of the 2013 NHL playoffs, but they will bring at least two games back to HP Pavilion in the first round. They were undefeated at home this season at home against the Vancouver Canucks.
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