AP Photo/Tom Gannam
By Pearl Allison Lo
St. Louis had to wait 49 years as Vladimir Tarasenko struck the game-winner, and the Blues put another dominant win together (5-1) at Enterprise Center to continue the San Jose Sharks’ wait for the ultimate trophy Tuesday.
Tarasenko’s goal capped his most successful round of the playoffs and St. Louis had their second multiple goal win in a row, winning the series 4-2.
After suffering their second 5-0 loss of the playoffs, the Sharks did not get to rebound with a win and lost a chance at a third Game 7 after reaching the Conference Final for the first time since their Stanley Cup Final run in 2016.
The injuries that created absences in Game 5 for Joe Pavelski, Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl loomed as they were unable to appear in Game 6 too.
Like last game, if goals scored off special teams were not counted, the game would have been a lot closer, but the offense was just as absent.
Goalie Jordan Binnington made 25 saves off 26 shots. Teammate Ryan O’Reilly assisted with both goals in the first and had three assists overall.
San Jose’s Evander Kane led all with five shots on goal and had two close chances in the second and third.
Saint Louis scored their sixth straight goal at just 1:32 into the contest, since the Sharks last scored in Game 4. David Perron had his sixth point of the series. The goal was originally credited to Sammy Blais. The Blues ot a 2-on-1 where Brent Burns stopped an initial shot by O’Reilly. Burns was not able to stop the pass though when the puck came back to O’Reilly. The pass went to Blais in the dot of the left faceoff circle and Perron was able to redirect the puck past Jones.
In between first period goals, a lower body injury occurred to an unusual man on the ice, referee Wes McCauley. He was replaced by referee Gord Dwyer.
Seven seconds into the first penalty of the game, Saint Louis doubled their lead. O’Reilly won the draw, passed to Tarasenko who did a back-and-forth with Colton Parayko and Tarasenko fired the puck over goalie Martin Jones’ shoulder from inside the right faceoff circle. It was Tarasenko’s eighth straight point and second straight goal.
San Jose’s Marc-Edouard Vlasic led with three shots on goal in the first period.
The next goal came at 6:40 of the second. Because of injuries, the Sharks’ Dylan Gambrell was in the game for the first time since April 26. He took advantage, splitting the Blues’ lead with his first NHL point and goal. It also stopped San Jose’s scoreless streak from hitting 100 minutes. Jones got the second assist as he blocked Patrick Maroon’s shot on the other end and sent the puck to Joonas Donskoi. Donskoi then made a long pass to Gambrell within the far blue line, who scored far side versus Binnington.
It was looking up until San Jose had their second penalty at 10:57 and Saint Louis scored their second power play goal 10 seconds before their advantage ran out. Logan Couture whiffed on a chance before the penalty.
It was Brayden Schenn’s second straight point and first goal since April 18, which came during the opening round of the playoffs against the Winnipeg Jets. Robert Thomas kept the puck from going out, and eventually also got the puck to Alex Pietrangelo, who shot from the point. The puck hit Jones’ right pad and Schenn was able to scoot the puck in right before Joakim Ryan got his stick there.
It was Pietrangelo’s 11th assist of the playoffs and
The Sharks outshot the Blues 10-3 in the final frame.
San Jose got their advantage early in the third period when Maroon was whistled at 1:36. The Sharks kept in a clearing attempt and the power play was characterized by Kevin Labanc hitting the crossbar in between the net getting knocked off its moorings twice.
Tyler Bozak made it 4-1 and the puck might have gone off San Jose’s Gus Nyquist at 13:05 and Ivan Barbashev provided the final tally on an empty net at 17:45.
For a team now looking towards next year once again, longtime player