San Jose did a great job of establishing their game early on and carried that throughout the night en route to a Game 2 victory.
When the final horn sounded within Scottrade Center, you could see the visible frustration on the faces of the St. Louis Blues. Over the course of 60 minutes, the San Jose Sharks executed their game plan perfectly as they took St. Louis and their crowd completely out of Game 2 of this Western Conference Final series.
The result was a resounding 4-0 win as team teal now heads home to the SAP Center knotted up at one with Game 3 set for Thursday night.
San Jose outworked the Blues from the onset and have been the better team for the most part of this series. The Sharks have been faster than St. Louis forcing their opponents into multiple turnovers which allowed the visitors to dictate and control the pace of play.
The Blues frustration began early in Game 2 when their best goal scorer was alone in front, but Vladimir Tarasenko was stopped by Martin Jones less than two minutes into the contest. Then, the fourth line of the Sharks went out and scored the opening, and ultimately, the game-winning goal when Tommy Wingels snuck one past Brian Elliott at the 2:07 mark.
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From that point on, San Jose did what they do best which is quickly get the puck out of their own zone, use their speed through the middle of the ice and get in and cause havoc on the forecheck.
The Sharks were the ones controlling the puck, while the Blues were chasing it for most of the night.
The pressure created from team teal boiled over as they forced St. Louis into some undisciplined penalties. First, it was Troy Brouwer who slashed Brent Burns behind the play nearly seven minutes into the second. It would take San Jose just 18 seconds to double their lead as Burns one-timed home his fifth goal of the playoffs.
The Blues didn’t learn their lesson to stay out of the box as Steve Ott would then head to the sin bin 1:17 after Brouwer’s penalty. While team teal didn’t capitalize on the opportunity, it signified the frustration that they couldn’t get anything going against this Sharks group.
Speaking of Brouwer, he personified the frustration of his teammates as he took two penalties, both of which resulted in power-play goals for Burns, while also hitting the post twice on the best chances of the game for the Blues.
Another area where St. Louis struggled to make any headway was on their power play, which went 0-for-6 after San Jose ran into some penalty troubles of their own.
However, Jones and the Sharks defense thwarted every chance that came their way, led by the shutdown duo of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun. San Jose did a great job of pressuring St. Louis up the ice, and killed off a critical four-minute advantage at the beginning of the third that had the home fans booing the Blues attack.
While it was just one game, the Sharks are forcing the Blues to adjust to their style of play. San Jose is the team imposing its will and that has St. Louis flustered and out of sorts.
Team teal will have to bring that same intensity and compete level home with them for games three and four as they have to know the Blues will be better. If they’re able to bring that same effort to the Shark Tank in Game 3, the home fans should be in for a real treat tomorrow night.