Blues Hold off Sharks in Game 1
The San Jose Sharks did everything but score goals Sunday night, and it cost them to the tune of a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in the opening game of their Western Conference Championship series. Game 2 is Tuesday night again in St. Louis.
The Sharks outshot the Blues, 32-23 for the game, continually pressuring the Blues, particularly in the second period. But St. Louis goalkeeper Brian Elliott was there to frustrate them at every turn, by stopping 31 of those shots.
Blues Special Teams Prevail
As expected, special teams played a big role in the outcome, and the Blues ruled the play in that category, killing three penalties and scoring on one power play of their own. The Sharks came into the game with the No. 1 postseason power play.
The Blues got on the board early in the game when David Backes scored a deflection on a power play. But the Sharks struck back a half minute later when Tomas Hertl redirected a shot by Joe Pavelski. The Sharks completely took over the game in the second stanza, outshooting the Blues, 15-5. But it was the Blues that put up a score when Jori Lehtera fired a slapshot from the circle to make it 2-1.
Lehtera, on his goal: "I got the puck, I closed my eyes, and I shot. Just gotta keep it simple. That's about it."— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) May 16, 2016
It was Elliott's game to save from there and he did the job, despite the Sharks taking goalie Martin Jones out of net with 2:29 left.
The Blues are up 1-0 on the series, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Sharks even the series on Tuesday. They out-hustled the Blues and held scoring leader Vladimir Tarasenko to two shots all night. If the Sharks come up at +130 or better to win Game 2, it's worth a look. For the series, the Blues have the depth to hold out, but San Jose can easily steal it if they win on Tuesday. And I don't think the low score in Game 1 establishes a trend to the under. The Sharks were the best road team in the NHL in the regular season at 28-10-3, but have now dropped four in a row on the road.
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