ST. LOUIS — Ken Hitchcock walked to the podium calm and confident.

True, this was the St. Louis Blues' first playoff series win in a decade. For the man who presided over their rise to prominence, it's only natural that he's still coaching.

The Blues are in the playoffs for just the second time in seven seasons. They lived up to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference by finishing off the San Jose Sharks in five games with a 3-1 victory Saturday night.

Now, they wait for the next challenge.

Since bringing in the 60-year-old Hitchcock in November, the Blues have thrived despite a lack of star power. Their across-the-board strength was good enough to eliminate a team that made it to the conference finals the last two years.