Hey did you know there was a playoff game tonight? Well the Blues obviously didn't. If they thought Game 1 was their worst game of the playoffs, boy did they up the ante tonight.
San Jose was encouraged by their play in Game 1 and everyone knew they would bring the same energy and effort to Game 2 so as a team you have to be prepared for that right? Once again a resounding NO from a team that is far more talented than they are showing. Vladimir Tarasenko is coming off witnessing the birth of his kid and he had more jump than the whole team. Brian Elliott must be thinking "fuck what else do I have to do?" This team has to get into their game and do it quick,
Soon to be St. Louisan Tommy Wingels got the scoring started early for the Sharks after a poor clearing attempt by the Blues. Dainius Zubrus held the puck in the zone and after a quick cycle found Wingels in the slot.
Not sure if Elliott was screened on the play but the puck slipped through his arm and side and snuck into the net. Now the Blues weren't playing bad at this point but its almost never good to let the other team score first, esp San Jose.
The Sharks took full advantage of the lead and started to work the game in their, not only were they stronger on the puck but it seemed like the puck seemed to find them on every play whether it was a clearing attempt, a pass or a shot. The Blues board play was horrendous tonight as they were hemmed into their zone repeatedly. They couldn't exit the zone, they couldn't sustain a forecheck and therefore they couldn't get any quality looks on net.
The one shining note of the period was that the Blues were able to kill off a Sharks power play midway thru the period which got the crowd going and would keep them going as they would draw a penalty shortly after the kill. But the crowd died just as quickly as they could get nothing going on the power play and that would be an unfortunate theme for the night.
For all the terrible play, the Blues only trailed 1-0 after the first and if that was their bad period of the game most of us could live with that. But in this up and down playoff run, why would we get what we wanted?
The 2nd was just as sluggish for the Blues as the first and it killed any chances we had throughout the period. Scottie Upshall would muff a pass from Steve Ott that would have put him on a clear cut breakaway. Patrik Berglund walked in down the side boards but a poor angled shot wasn't going to beat Martin Jones tonight. Another failed power play and a bad penalty from Troy Brouwer would lead to another Sharks goal.
As the penalty to Logan Couture was ending and the Blues were lamenting the zero chances they got, Brouwer would turn around and whack Brent Burns, who maybe embellished a little bit, but still drew a call in his teams favor. On the ensuing man advantage Alex Steen would break his stick on the face-off and race to the bench to grab a new one, in the period of the long change mind you. An over-commitment by David Backes and just like that you have a 3 on 1 break for the Sharks with Couture, Joe Pavelski and Burns. Couture would tie the Sharks playoff points record with an assist after Marleau dished it to Burns who fired it past Elliott for the 2-0 lead.
The bad play didn't end their for the Blues as Steve Ott, who still plays in important games, took an interference penalty just outside the Blues zone. Now to be fair it looked like he wasn't trying to hit Pavelski but in the playoffs you have to be much more careful about where you are at all times. Thankfully the Blues were able to kill the penalty and save Ott the embarrassment of being in the box when a goal was scored.
Brouwer would almost redeem himself when late in the second he would streak into the zone and find himself with a clear shot on Jones but his shot rang off the post and the threat was over as quickly as it began. It just didn't seem to be the Blues night and yet they still only trailed 2-0 going into the third.
The break the Blues were needing came 32 seconds into the third when Patrick Marleau would get a double minor for high sticking Carl Gunnarsson and drawing blood. This was going to be how we got back into the game and get momentum back on our side.
Or the Blues would screw around with the puck, not get any zone time, put one shot on in the first 3 and half minutes and kill the crowd in the process. The best chance came with under 30 seconds to go in the double minor and even that was kicked aside by Jones with ease. And than lo and behold the Blues would take even more penalties after the glorious gift they had been given.
First it was Jay Bouwmeester slashing Joe Thornton and than it was Brouwer again, this time an offensive zone high stick that would essentially end the game for the Blues.
A key component to this series was going to be special teams and faceoffs. So far the Sharks are winning on both those accounts and it was no more evident than on the power play in the third to put them up 3-0. The Sharks won the draw, cycled the puck and found their man wide open to rip one past Elliott yet again.
The goal was Burns second power play goal of the night, the assist by Couture gave him the outright record for the Sharks and effectively crippled the Blues chances.
The Blues were given the chance to at least make the game respectable late as Roman Polak would take a penalty. Once again the power play didn't yield much. Brouwer got another chance to redeem himself but yet again he hit the post but he did draw a penalty to give the Blues a 5 on 3 advantage. But the Sharks aggressive kill stymied the Blues at every turn and the game ended with a whimper.
Zubrus would add an empty netter for a 4-0 final and a 1-1 series heading to San Jose. All in all now we have seen the Blues worst game in the playoffs and hopefully its the last one we see.
The Blues are 5-2 on the road this postseason and have played much better away from the pressure of home. But the Sharks have won 5 straight at home so the work will be cut out for the Blues. Keep in mind that the Sharks were the worst home team of the playoff contenders during the regular season. Don't give up hope Blues fans, its one game. We will see you Thursday night in San Jose.
#3 - Logan Couture: Set single playoff record for points by a Shark, strong game
#2 - Martin Jones: 2nd career playoff shutout, not like he had to do much with the shots he saw
#1 - Brent Burns: 2 power play goals, rebounded from a poor game in Game 1