The Sharks’ top line combined for eight points as the Sharks easily claimed Game 1 of the Western Conference Final by beating the St. Louis Blues 6-3.
Logan Couture started the scoring in the first five minutes of the game, and finished off the game with an empty-netter that killed the net camera. Couture now leads the NHL Playoffs in points (17) and goals (11).
Couture added an assist, and it was awesome. His poke-check from the neutral zone led to Timo Meier’s first goal of the game. It was a beautiful display of quick hands that fooled Jay Bouwmeester and beat Jordan Binnington. Meier also got a tip goal from behind the net, because he’s just that cool. Nyquist recorded two assists in the game as well.
The top line led the way for a (mostly) awesome game from the Sharks.
The entire team looked great in the neutral zone, making the Blues pay for sloppy play. The Blues finished the game with 12 giveaways.
The bottom-six forwards contributed as well. Kevin Labanc scored in the second period to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead. Barclay Goodrow made a diving shot block during the Sharks’ single penalty kill of the game in the second period, which apparently personally offended Robert Bortuzzo. Tempers flared after Couture’s empty netter and Bortuzzo decided to take out his anger by punching Goodrow a lot. Bortuzzo. Received a double minor for roughing, while Goodrow received a roughing minor. They both received 10 minute game misconducts. Brenden Dillon also got into a scuffle with a Oskar Sundqvist and both were handed minors for roughing. It all added up to a Sharks’ man advantage for almost the final two minutes of the game. Head Coach Pete DeBoer was so confident, he put the fourth line out for the “power play.”
There was one flaw I noticed in the Sharks’ play. All three Blues goals came from very, very close to the net. Two were scored by players left unmarked by the net; apparently the Sharks didn’t learn the first time around. If they can fix that problem...this series is going to go well.
Hello everybody! Is anyone else made a little nervous by the fact that NBCSN keeps talking about Game Sevens? Let’s worry about Game One, first of all.
17:48: Jordan Binnington has looked very calm on the shots he’s seen so far; they’ve been pretty direct and easy to see.
16:29: Logan Couture scores! Tomas Hertl started the play by pushing Alex Pietrangelo off the puck at the St. Louis blue line. Gustav Nyquist collected the puck and carried it in the left side, then passed to Couture as he slid low into the right circle. Couture now leads the NHL in playoff goals.
10:47: Jaden Schwartz scores five-hole. He should have taken a penalty at the other end of the ice (he hooked and cross-checked Logan Couture into the boards) but it’s fine. UPDATE: As of the beginning of the first period, Joel Edmundson is credited with the goal.
10:24: Jay Bouwmeester takes a hooking penalty in the Blues’ defensive zone.
9:27: Colton Parayko lays a big slash on Evander Kane along the left-wing boards. San Jose gets a five-on-three frenzy for over a minute.
8:36: Joe Pavelski taps his own rebound out of the air and into the net! 2-1 Sharks with 1:10 of power play remaining.
2:29: The Blues have iced the puck twice in a minute and a half and turned the puck over in their own zone a lot more than twice.
END FIRST: Sharks 2, Blues 1
The period went almost perfectly for the Sharks. Joe Thornton did leave the bench early in the period, but came back after a few shifts and was on for the Sharks’ last offensive zone draw.
There were a couple Blues offenses that the refs missed, but we shouldn’t want the Sharks to spend the whole game on the power play anyway.
17:40: The Blues have iced the puck three times to start the period. Cool.
17:03: What happened to Marcus Sorensen? Whatever the Blues did, Tyler Bozak is sitting for it. Sharks power play!
15:05: Martin Jones makes a fantastic toe save!—at the end of the Sharks’ power play. Defending a 2-on-1 is not the ideal way to end a power play.
12:19: Kevin Labanc grabs the puck at the blue line and carries it to the middle of the slot. He then deposits it behind Jordan Binnington; 3-1 Sharks!
11:02: Nobody picked up Ryan O’Reilly on the right side of the net. He collects the pass and powers it around Martin Jones. 3-2.
9:36: Logan Couture’s poke check lets Timo Meier turn up the slot and score! 4-2 Sharks.
6:37: Melker Karlsson delays the game. Thanks.
2:26: Marc-Edouard Vlasic accidentally scored. Okay actually it was a pass off the boards to Timo Meier who was sweeping behind the net. But it sure looked like Vlasic scored on accident.
END SECOND: Sharks 5, Blues 2
The Sharks end the period with a better advantage than when they started it.
Can I just go back and talk about Timo Meier’s first goal of the night? Couture poked it away from the Blues from the dang neutral zone. And it went right to Meier. Meier finished with the Forsberg move with Blues defenders crashing him hard.
Couture and Meier are on the scoresheet, and the bottom six have contributed as well. I’m feeling goooood.
11:36: We’re almost halfway through the period and I’m still feeling good about things. Couture and Nyquist have both shown some great work towards the net.
6:59: Once again, a Blues player was allowed to lurk to the side the net. The Blues score on only their third shot of the third period.
4:39: The Blues have an extra skater on the ice. Bold.
2:21: Logan Couture broke the camera scoring his second goal of the game. It’s easy to do that when there’s no goalkeeper in the way. (He would have made it look easy anyway, I think.)
FINAL SCORE: Sharks 6, Blues 3
So, they meet again.
For the first time since 2016, the San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues face off in the Western Conference Final. It took both teams to win a Game 7 on their home ice to get to this showdown. St. Louis won theirs in overtime with a goal from the hometown hero, Patrick Maroon, and the Sharks survived a late push from the Colorado Avalanche for a tight 3-2 victory.
The Sharks played the Blues three times in the regular season, with the Sharks taking the season series, 2-1.
The only downside to winning the season series is that the Sharks have not yet played against who is almost certainly going to be the starting goaltender this series, Jordan Binnington. Since making (and winning) his NHL debut last January, Binnington has been a major force as to why the Blues are here in the Western Conference Final and not on the outside looking in.
Expected scratches: Micheal Haley, Tim Heed, Lukas Radil, Dylan Gambrell
Blues (via dailyfaceoff.com)
Jaden Schwartz — Brayden Schenn — Vladimir Tarasenko
Sammy Blais — Ryan O’Reilly — David Perron
Patrick Maroon — Tyler Bozak — Robert Thomas
Ivan Barbashev — Oskar Sundqvist — Alexander Steen
Joel Edmundson — Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester — Colton Parayko
Vince Dunn — Robert Bortuzzo,
Expected scratches: Robby Fabbri, Zach Sanford, Chris Thorburn, Michael Del Zotto, Jared Coreau, Carl Gunnarsson
Where to Watch
Puck drop is at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET from SAP Center and will be broadcast on NBC in the United States, CBC and Sportsnet in Canada and TVA Sports en Francais in Quebec. The radio call will be available on 98.5 KFOX in the Bay Area and through the Sharks app.