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Sharks continue to roll in Game 3
Jones extends shutout streak in 3-0 win
5/19/16 - By Mike Lee -

Momentum in a powerful thing, and the San Jose Sharks have all of it in their Western Conference Finals series with the St Louis Blues right now. The series shifted to San Jose on Thursday night, and the Sharks picked up where they left off in St Louis, by shutting out the Blues for the 2nd consecutive game. The Sharks used a pair of goals from Tomas Hertl and another from Joonas Donskoi to use a 3-0 decision to take a 2-1 series lead.

After dominating the Blues 48 hours earlier in Game 2, the Sharks had the chance to prove that win wasn't a fluke. St Louis tried to disprove them early by throwing everything they had at San Jose in the first 10 minutes of the game.

San Jose weathered the storm, as goaltender Martin Jones continued to calmly turn aside everything that came hi way. The puck spent the majority of that first 10 minutes in the San Jose zone, an effect of the Blues attempts to break out of their scoring slump. The Blues out-shot San Jose 5-2 through the first half of the 1st period and looked to be motivated to get the crucial first goal.

That wouldn't come and then the Sharks planted a seed of doubt at 15:53 when Tomas Hertl pumped a shot past Brian Elliott to crack the score sheet. The Blues started the sequence by turning the puck over in the neutral zone, allowing Joe Thornton to break the Blues blueline with a pass to Joe Pavelski on the right wing. Pavelski didn't waste any time, spotting Hertl on the off wing and directing the puck to him as two Blues defenders converged on the Sharks captain. With nothing by space between him and Elliott, Hertl wound up from the top of the left circle and unloaded a shot that caught the top right corner of the net.

Alex Pietrangelo took a charging penalty with 8 seconds left in the period, after he hit Hertl after lining up the Sharks forward behind the St Louis net.

That penalty was important because it allowed the Sharks to start the 2nd period without any immediate pressure from the Blues, and kick things back into gear. San Jose didn't score on the power play, but they set the tone in the period. They began to put together more sustained pressure in the Blues zone.

Another turnover cost the Blues midway through the period when Joonas Donskoi stabbed at a pass through the slot that deflected out of the zone right to Logan Couture on the left wing. Couture and Patrick Marleau raced up ice on a 2-on-2, but Donskoi hustled up as the trailer, taking a drop pass and ripping it through Elliott's 5-hole. Paul Stastny was late to get back and cover Donskoi, which allowed for the young winger to drive down the slot and pick his shot before beating Elliott.

Couture was charged with high sticking with 5 minutes left in the period, but Jones stood tall on the penalty kill. At that point the Blues could have easily swayed the momentum in their favor with a goal, but Jones wouldn't allow it.

Hertl made sure the Blues wouldn't generate any momentum with his 2nd goal of the night at the 6:09 mark of the 3rd period. Thornton setup the goal with a laser pass from the left corner to Hertl behind the net. Rather than wind the puck around the end boards, Thornton had to thread the pass to Hertl between the back of the goal and Blues centerman Jaden Schwartz. Hertl slipped Schwartz before slipping to the front of the net and depositing a shot that squirted through Elliott's 5-hold.

Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock decided it wasn't worth letting Elliott endure another goal after giving up 6 tallies in the last 2 games, so he pulled his goaltender in favor of Jake Allen.

Allen would log 8 minutes in the net because Hitchcock needed to pull his goaltender for an extra attacker if the Blues had any chance of catching the Sharks. Even then San Jose denied any quality scoring chances, keeping the puck away from Jones by pushing things to the outside.

Hertl had one chance to score a 3rd goal, but his chance from the Blues blueline was deflected by St Louis captain David Backes.

Pietrangelo took out some pent up aggression on Donskoi by laying an elbow to the young Sharks head, drawing a trip to the penalty box with 45 seconds remaining in regulation. It was an act of frustration, but it was also a bit of head hunting, literally, late in a game that was long decided. The Sharks never reacted, they just lined up for the faceoff and killed the remaining time on the clock en route to a lead in the series.

Game Notes:

* The win was the 10th in the playoffs for the Sharks, which tied the high-water mark they achieved in 2004.

* Joe Thornton recorded two assists which resulted in his fourth multi-point game of the playoffs. He now has seven points (2G,5A) in eight career playoff games against the Blues.

* Joonas Donskoi ranks 2nd among all rookies in scoring in the playoffs (4G + 4A = 8pts).

* Roman Polak led all skaters with six blocked shots and was tied for the team lead with six hits.

* Martin Jones made 22 saves to earn his third shutout of the postseason and has stopped 69 of the 71 shots he has faced in the series (.971 save percentage).

* So much for the inability to win on home ice. San Jose is now 6-1 at home in these playoffs and have outscored opponents 25-9 in those games.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
STL 0 0 0 0
SJ 1 1 1 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Hertl 4 (Pavelski, Thornton), 15:53.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Donskoi 4 (Couture), 11:44.
3rd period - 3, SJ, Hertl 5 (Thornton, Pavelski), 6:09.
Penalties
1st period - Couture, SJ (high sticking), 15:01; Pietrangelo, STL (charging), 19:52.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - Pietrangelo, STL (elbowing), 19:15.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
STL - Elliott 14 11
STL - Allen 2 2
SJ - Jones 22 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
STL 9 6 7 22
SJ 7 6 3 16
Power Play Conversion
STL 0 of 1
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Tomas Hertl
Joe Thornton
Martin Jones
Attendance
17,562
Officials
Referees: Charron, McCauley. Linesmen: Devorski, Murray.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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