The Blues are one step closer to winning their first playoff series since 2002 with last night’s win over the Sharks. It wasn’t pretty, but the Blues found a way to contain a highly skilled San Jose team and take a 3-1 series lead after last night’s 2-1 victory. The key to this game was the blocked shots. The Blues combined for a total of 26 blocked shots last night only allowing 25 to get through to Blues goaltender Brian Elliott. Elliott, who was nothing short of flawless for the Blues, stopped 24 of the 25 shots from the Sharks.
For the Sharks, this game was about desperation. Being down 2-1 in a series isn’t an easy spot to be in for any team, and their play showed it. The physical edge went to the Sharks ending the evening with 28 hits to the Blues 16. The big story for the Sharks has been their lackluster penalty kill. The Sharks have allowed the Blues to go 6-16 on the power play in this series and it could very well be deciding factor. If the Sharks want to make this a contest and force a game 6 at home, they’re going to have to tighten up defensively and hammer out the kinks in their special teams.
Blues forward BJ Crombeen scored the first goal of the game and his first career playoff goal in the first period sending the Blues out to the early 1-0 lead. Blues forward’s David Perron and Patrik Berglund would get the assists.
The game remained a one goal deficit until Andy McDonald scored his third goal of the playoffs on the power play in the third period. Blues forward’s David Perron and Patrik Berglund would again, get the assists giving them each two on the night.
The Sharks pulled goaltender Antti Niemi with just over two minutes left in the third period for the extra attacker, and it paid off as Sharks Captain Joe Thornton scored his first goal of the playoffs bringing the Sharks within one.
What’s Next for the Blues?
Simplicity, the Blues didn’t get to where they are now by playing a complex and elaborate system. The Blues spent the majority of the regular season finding ways to win by battling through injuries and making it out on top of the juggernaut that is the central division. Now that they stand at the doorstep of round 2, they will have to keep it simple. Hitchcock has gotten this team to “buy in” to the “200ft. game” and that’s what has been the key to their success in the playoffs.
That’s all for now, see you tomorrow night at puck drop