Martin Jones stopped 22 shots on Thursday night to shut out the St. Louis Blues for the second-straight game, setting a franchise record in the process. The Sharks boast just 12 shutouts in franchise history and Jones now holds three of them. That puts him four away from tying Evgeni Nabokov's shutout mark over a decade in teal.
None of Jones' shutouts have come in close games as the Sharks have played absolutely phenomenally in front him in each of the past four contests. The Blues can count themselves fortunate to not be down 3-0 in this series after the way San Jose has played. That's not to take credit away from Jones, but it shows how good a team can be when both the skaters and netminders are synced up.
The above diagram from hockeystats.ca shows all the Blues' shot attempts in game three. Note that not all of these found their way on net, but it gives you an idea of where St. Louis was taking most of its shots from. A small clump to Jones' left makes up just about all of the Blues' scoring chances. Jones did well to stop a fair number of shots in close, but it doesn't hurt that the Sharks have mostly kept St. Louis out of high-danger scoring areas.
Through three games the Blues notched 28 high-danger scoring chances, 14 of which came in game three. The Sharks have 32 themselves — an often underrated part of pitching a shutout. San Jose spent a lot of time in the St. Louis zone over the past 120 minutes of game time, giving Jones plenty of time to rest, recuperate and adjust his water bottle above the net.
The Blues are averaging 9.33 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes, below their usual mark of 10.5. That's also below the Sharks defensive mark as San Jose allowed 10.3 HDSCs per 60 during the regular season. A big part of that is how well the Sharks have shut down the Blues best offensive weapons.
Brent Burns and Paul Martin saw oodles of ice time against Vladimir Tarasenko and effectively shut him down for the entirety of the contest. Jones has made stops when the Sharks have needed him to, but not having to constantly worry about one of the best offensive players in the NHL certainly helps.
Jones now holds a .924 save percentage at all strengths, good enough for the second-best playoff save percentage the Sharks have had in their past 10 postseason campaigns. Jones isn't the only reason the Sharks are winning, but his consistency in net provides a foundation that San Jose has used to get just two wins away from its first ever Stanley Cup Final.