Down 1-0 in the series, the Sharks earned a much needed 4-0 win over the Blues and head back to San Jose looking to defend home ice.
Just 2:07 into the game, Tommy Wingels scored his second goal of the playoffs on a nice pass by Dainius Zubrus and screen by Nick Spaling to give the Sharks an early edge.
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Zubrus has been solid on the fourth line since entering the lineup in the Predators series, and Wingels has played much better since being a healthy scratch twice in said series. Each team would kill off a penalty later in the period leading to a 1-0 scoreline after one.
After the Sharks killed off a Logan Couture penalty in the second period, the Blues became uncharacteristically undisciplined and committed two quick penalties in a row. The Sharks capitalized on the first when Brent Burns fired a beautiful short range one-timer past Blues goalie Brian Elliott who stood no chance. Patrick Marleau and Couture were the assist-men on goal number two.
Shortly after, Sharks goalie Martin Jones came up with a couple of huge saves to preserve the two-goal edge. It was the story of the night for Jones, who seemed to make great save after great save in his second shutout of the playoffs. The netminder is a first-year starter (and playoff starter), but sure isn’t playing like one. He has been one of the top goalies in the postseason.
The 2-0 lead held steady for a large sum of time and into the third period, which began as a sloppy one for both sides. Marleau’s four-minute penalty for high-sticking came only 34 seconds into the period, yet team teal was able to kill it off.
San Jose’s fantastic penalty kill was a storyline of the evening as the ‘Notes finished 0-6 on power-plays. The Sharks were stout all night on the back check keeping the Blues along the boards when attacking and not giving their playmakers any room to work with in front of the net.
At the 11:58 mark, the Sharks put St. Louis away for good when Burns fired home his second power-play goal of the game, also off assists from Marleau and Couture. This was the only “bad” goal Elliott let up, but nonetheless it was an impressive shot by Burns.
Couture leads the league in playoff points with 19, and Burns is right behind with 18. Burns is four points away from becoming the first defenseman with 22-plus points in the playoffs since Brian Leetch in 1994 (34).
Zubrus added an empty-netter in the final minute to extend the Sharks margin to four, and the game would close at 4-0.
This may have been San Jose’s second-best game of the postseason after their Game 7 thrashing of Nashville, where once again it seemed like everyone played well. It was particularly pleasing to see the fourth line get in on the action.
Game 3 is slated for Thursday night at the Shark Tank where team teal will look to take their first series lead and inch their way closer to the first Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history.