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Sharks smother Blues for Game 2 win
Martin Jones shutsout St Louis 4-0
5/17/16 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks turned in a hard nosed performance in Game 1 of their Western Conference Finals series with the St Louis Blues, but weren't rewarded for it. They put their heads down and bulled forward in Game 2 on Tuesday night in St Louis, skating away with a dominating 4-0 win at Scottrade Center. Brent Burns potted a pair of goals, and Martin Jones turned aside 26 shots to earn his 2nd career playoff shutout.

Confident in their performance 48 hours earlier, San Jose stuck to their guns and chipped away in terms of goals, and played a smothering defense that stymied the Blues all night long. Much like their Game 7 win over Nashville, the Sharks smothered their opponent, never allowing for that late push that would challenge a slim lead.

The Sharks scored in all three periods, but even as the 3rd period started, everyone waited to see if St Louis could cut into the Sharks 2-0 lead. They didn't because the Sharks didn't let the Blues control any zone, pressing them with a defensive coverage that blanketed St Louis.

Jones played his best part of the game in the 3rd period, by positioning himself in front over every shot the Blues threw on net. Aided by 4 penalties in the 3rd period, the Blues would take 11 shots that the San Jose netminder turned aside with a cool demeanor that seemed to motivate his teammates.

Both teams started the game tentatively, which nearly cost the Sharks in the opening moments. A turnover in their own ended turned into a Vladimir Tarasenko scoring chance from the doorstep. Luckily for San Jose, the Blues young phenom lifted his shot over the crossbar, to keep the game in the feeling out stage.

San Jose cracked the score sheet from an unlikely source, when the Sharks 4th line put a puck past Brian Elliott 2:07 in. Tommy Wingels took a Danius Zubrus feed from the left wing boards and snapped a wrist shot from the high slot that hit Elliott in the chest before flipping end over end into the Blues goal.

A David Backes tripping penalty at 11:26 setup an opportunity for the Sharks to add to their lead, but the shooting was limited to unscreened attempts that Elliott handled without much effort.

Chris Tierney setup a Blues power play 2 minutes later when he tripped Kevin Shattenkirk. The Blues attack was a bit more urgent that San Jose's lone power play of the period. Jones was on top of things, denying the 4 St Louis shots that came his way on the Blues man advantage.

A turnover late in the period setup another Sharks scoring chance but Joe Pavelski's stick was tied up as a Joe Thornton feed form the left corner just missed.

San Jose dodged a bullet early in the 2nd period when a lead pass that would have led to a breakaway chance for the Blues skipped past Scottie Upshall.

Logan Couture was sent off for holding at 4:45, but the Sharks penalty killers got the job done. St Louis was called for a slashing penalty right as Couture's penalty expired, putting the Sharks on the power play.

San Jose got away with a defensive positioning gaff when Troy Brouwer was allowed to walk in on Jones and fire a shot from 25 feet out. Luckily for San Jose, Brouwer's shot clanked off the left post.

The Blues spent the last four days talking about the Sharks power play and how they needed to defend it. They didn't achieve that goal as the Sharks special teams was simply better.

Brouwer was sent off for slashing 6:46 into the period, setting up the first of Burns two goals. Joe Pavelski took a Patrick Marleau feed from the right wing boards then converged on the Blues net. The Sharks captain saw Burns mirroring his attacking line on the off wing, so he sent a pass through the slot for a Burns one-time chance that Elliott had no chance of stopping.

The 3rd period turned into a penalty fest, including 8 minutes in minor penalties assessed to San Jose. Patrick Marleau kicked things off with a high-sticking double minor that put the Sharks in a tough spot. A St Louis goal jumpstarts a lifeless building, so San Jose prevented that from happening by killing all four minutes. St Louis didn't seem to have much motivation after the Sharks squashed that chance.

Jay Bouwmeeter followed Marleau to the box right as Marleau's double minor expired. The Blues killed that penalty but a high-sticking penalty to Brouwer didn't work out as well.

Brent Burns made it a 3-0 Sharks lead with Brouwer sitting in the box, when he rifled a one-time chance from the top of the left circle, sending an unscreened shot that sailed over Elliott's left shoulder.

Roman Polak earned a right to a 2-minute rest after he was called for interference with 6:41 to play, and again, the Sharks penalty killers were smothering. The closest St Louis would come to scoring is when Brouwer flipped the puck from a scrum that bounced off the right post.

Paul Martin ended the penalty parade with a slashing infraction at 14:55 that gave the Blues one last chance to make something of the game. Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock pulled Elliott in favor of the extra attacker to press with a 6-on-4 power play.

Jones played made save after save as the Blues tried to press from in tight, but the Sharks goaltender was a wall. St Louis couldn't solve him 5-on-5, and 6-on-5, so why would 6-on-4 be any different. It wasn't.

Zubrus was rewarded for his strong play in the 1st period with a late goal. The mid-season addition swept the puck out of his own zone with a backhanded clearing attempt that hopped on edge and traveled the length of the ice and into the empty net to cap the scoring.

Game Notes:

* With his assist on the Brent Burns goal, Logan Couture tied a franchise record for most points in a playoff season (18) shared with Igor Larionov. He woule then set a new mark with an assist on Burns second goal.

* Vladimir Tarasenko has a busy day, as he became a father for the first time early on Tuesday. The Blues sniper than led all skaters with 6 shots on goal during the game.

* From the lead by example department, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski and Blues captain David Backes led their respective teams in hits. Pavelski recorded 7 hits, while Backes added 8. Tomas Hertl and Tommy Wingels each added 6 hits apiece.

* Nick Spaling and Melker Karlsson were unsung heroes, with each logging more than 3 minutes of short-handed time. The Blues finished 0-for-6 on the power play, thanks in part to Spaling and Karlsson's persistence on the penalty kill.

* The 2-point night for Dainius Zubrus had to be rather rewarding, considering that the Blues passed on Zubrus after the veteran forward was cut following a try-out earlier this season. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer coached Zubrus in New Jersey, and was quick to add his former player after the Sharks suffered some injury issues at forward.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 2 4
STL 0 0 0 0
1st period - 1, SJ, Wingels 2 (Zubrus, Braun), 2:07.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Burns 5 (Pavelski, Couture), 7:04, (pp).
3rd period - 3, SJ, Burns 6 (Marleau, Couture), 11:58, (pp). 4, SJ, Zubrus 1 (unassisted), 19:41, (en).
1st period - Backes, STL (tripping), 11:26; Tierney, SJ (tripping), 13:38.
2nd period - Couture, SJ (holding), 4:45; Brouwer, STL (slashing), 6:46; Ott, STL (interference), 8:03.
3rd period - Marleau, SJ (high sticking - double minor), 0:32; Bouwmeester, STL (slashing), 5:00; Brouwer, STL (high sticking), 11:34; Polak, SJ (interference), 13:19; Martin, SJ (slashing), 14:55.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 26 26
STL - Elliott 23 20
STL - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 10 9 5 24
STL 9 6 11 26
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 5
STL 0 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Brent Burns
Martin Jones
Logan Couture
Referees: O'Rourke, Watson. Linesmen: Kovachik, Murphy.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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