Photo by: (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
The San Jose Sharks are now one win away from reaching their first Stanley Cup Finals in franchise history after earning a 6-3 win.
Ken Hitchcock elected to go with Jake Allen to start game five as Allen allowed four goals on 25 shots face.
Offensively, the Blues tallied three goals, but Vladamir Tarasenko, once again, was not on the score sheet. Tarasenko was tied for the team lead in playoff points through two series, but has failed to notch a goal or assist this series. Tarasenko was a -2 and amounted just one shot the entire game.
For the Sharks, the duo of Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski combined for six points including the game winning goal to help lift San Jose on the road.
Going into the game, the team that scored first in the series won every single game, and the Sharks did just that on just their second shot of the game.
Off an offensive draw, Joe Thornton won the draw back as Joe Pavelski collected the puck and curled a pass back to Marc Vlasic. Vlasic fired a high shot from the point that Tomas Hertl barely deflected and beat Allen high to the glove side making it 1-0 less than four minutes into the game.
The Blues answered right back as Patrik Berglund wristed a shot on net. David Backes tried to deflect the puck on net in front, but Jaden Schwartz was there for the put back to tie the game with 12:56 left in the first period.
The Blues gained their first lead of the game later in the period as Alexander Steen entered the attacking, pulled up and dished to Paul Stastny toward the center of the zone. Stastny fired a shot off the blocker of Martin Jones, but the puck fluttered in the air near as Troy Brouwer batted it out of the air for his eighth goal of the playoffs with 4:52 left in the first period.
However, St. Louis wouldn’t be the only team to bat a puck out of the air into the net as the Sharks evened the game early in the second period.
Going into the game, in playoff games this year that the Sharks have won, they convert on 38 percent of their power play chances. In losses, San Jose scores on just six percent of those. On the power play, Paul Martin collected the puck along the blue line and walked the line to the center of the zone. Martin fed Vlasic who ripped a shot off the post past Allen. The puck bounced in the air as Joel Ward tapped it out of the air tying the game at two.
The game went back and forth as the Blue struck next on a power play of their own.
Fabbri put an exclamation mark on his return from injury as he fired a shot from the blue line that snuck under the pad of Jones to make it 3-2 with 8:02 left in the second period.
But late in the period, San Jose’s power play once again came through.
Logan Couture battled for control with Parayko as the puck squirted over to Joe Thornton. Pavelski came down the high slot wide open as he received the feed from Thornton. Even with the puck on edge, Pavelski scored his 11th of the postseason tying the game again at three.
Pavelski wasted little time adding to his potential Conn Smyth bid by netting his league-leading 12th goal of the playoffs early in the third period.
Hertl collected the puck off a shot low and cycled the puck back to the point. Brent Burns wristed a shot that appeared to be going well wide to Allen’s blocker, but Pavelski deflected it over past the glove of Allen making it 4-3 16 seconds into the period.
In desperation, the Blues pulled their goalie down a goal, but the Sharks controlled the puck and Chris Tierney and Joel Ward each were able to put home empty netters to make it 6-3.
St. Louis will look to stay alive in game six in San Jose Wednesday, May 25.