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Sharks 1, Blues 2: Binnington and bad luck strike down Sharks

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The Sharks recovered from a slow start, but couldn’t crack Jordan Binnington a second time.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues cruised to a series-trying victory over the San Jose Sharks on the strength of two first-period goals and Jordan Binnington’s 29 saves.

The Blues scored within the first minute with a bit of a screened shot from the wing. Through the rest of the first 20, the Sharks started to wake up. In the final five minutes of the period, two major moments of bad luck struck.

Melker Karlsson found himself all alone on the right side of the ice with the puck coming from world-class passer Joe Thornton. Unfortunately, the pass came a bit too hot and Karlsson had to take a moment to gain control of the puck. That second gave Jordan Binnington the time to square himself up for an easy glove save.

Just over a minute later, the Sharks were working a good offensive zone cycle. The puck came toward Timo Meier near the blueline as he joined the pressure fresh from the bench. Meier missed a one-timer attempt and Ryan O’Reilly got the jump the other way. Meier’s instinct ended with him in the penalty box for hooking. The Blues scored the winning goal within the first ten seconds of the power play.

The Sharks did well in the second period, though neither team managed to score. San Jose went on to dominate the final 20 minutes, tallying a power-play goal for only the second time on the road all playoffs. Despite pulling Martin Jones with two minutes left, the Sharks couldn’t tie the game.

The teams have now alternated wins in this series. If the pattern continues, the Sharks will retake the series lead on Sunday in San Jose. We’ll see you then.


First Period

Hey everybody, it’s Jay! Sie and I battled to the death agreed that I’d be your host for tonight’s live blog.

19:25: That certainly isn’t ideal. The Blues’ fourth line starts and gets the puck into the attacking zone. Alexander Steen pressures Brent Burns behind the net and Ivan Barbashev takes a shot from the left wing. 1-0 Blues.

16:15: How many times have the Sharks defenders had to sweep away a rebound that landed within three feet of the crease? Whatever the number, it’s too many.

14:51: Brenden Dillon gets nicked for holding the stick.

3:25: Joe Thornton passes to Melker Karlsson all alone at the bottom of the right circle, but Karlsson has to take a couple moments to control the puck. It’s an easy save for Jordan Binnington.

2:16: Timo Meier flubs a deep shot and hooks Ryan O’Reilly as the Blues start to go down the ice. Penalty kill time.

2:07: The Blues win the first face-off of the power play. They get a shot on goal, and Martin Jones makes the first save, but the puck comes down to the ice and the Blues capitalize. Currently it’s being credited to Tyler Bozak.

END FIRST: Sharks 0, Blues 2

The Blues got the fast start they wanted to bounce back from the overtime loss on Wednesday. The Blues are 10-2 after a loss this postseason.

A couple majorly unlucky moments in the later stages of the period stand out: Melker Karlsson’s open opportunity, and Timo Meier’s missed shot. If one or both of those happens differently, this game is 2-1 at worst.

The Sharks didn’t look great, but they showed flashes of promise.

Second Period

17:55: Marcus Sorensen gets the first good chance of the period.

17:07: Timo Meier gets an even better chance! Carl Gunnarsson, who’s appearing for the first time this series, gets on him just enough to prevent an easy goal.

16:16: Erik Karlsson’s passes got intercepted by the Blues twice in ten seconds.

14:19: Sammy Blais takes a penalty behind the Sharks’ net. Power play time!

11:36: We return from the commercial break to some 4-on-4 hockey.

END SECOND: Sharks 0, Blues 2

They’re in the same spot they were at the end of the first. That’s fine I guess.

With over 5 minutes left, NBCSN noted that the Sharks had 41 shot attempts all game to that point. And according to Natural Stat Trick, they controlled two-thirds of the even-strength shot attempts in the period.

Unfortunately, Jordan Binnington.

Third Period

20:00: Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton start the period together.

15:25: Brenden Dillon goes to the penalty box again.

13:59: Alex Pietrangelo gets called for interference on his own power play.

13:12: Tomas Hertl pushes the puck across the line after it dropped behind Jordan Binnington. That’s a power-play goal!

10:09: The Sharks will return to the power play after Ivan Barbashev trips Joe Pavelski in the Blues’ zone.

9:24: The Sharks take their timeout after allowing a semi-breakaway on the power play for the Blues’ second shot on goal of the third period.

8:04: The Sharks didn’t take any shots on that man advantage.

7:27: Looks like there’s going to be a Blues power play after these advertisements. Kevin Labanc looks so forlorn sitting in the box to serve the penalty.

5:42: I like Evander Kane’s penalty-killing philosophy. When the Sharks get shorthanded opportunities, it’s fun!

2:02: Erik Karlsson hasn’t come on the ice for the past couple minutes. Also of interest, Martin Jones just came out of the net.

0:46.3: Erik Karlsson is back.

FINAL SCORE: Sharks 1, Blues 2


Pregame

Despite walking away with a 5-4 overtime win in Game 3, the Sharks didn’t play their best 60 minutes of hockey. They’ll have to bring it tonight if they want to come home with a 3-1 series lead.

To a player, I expect the St. Louis Blues to be pissed off. They think the game was stolen from them. I think it was still 4-4 even if the goal is disallowed, so not a foregone conclusion. But I digress.

The point is, St. Louis is coming to play tonight and the Sharks will have to too.

Lines

Sharks

Micheal Haley is out, Marcus Sorensen is back in for tonight’s game. Sorensen will slot in on the fourth line and Melker Karlsson gets to keep his spot on the third line. Can’t argue with the logic here, Karlsson helped spark the third line and Joe Thornton to a two goal game.

Blues

For the Blues, the team will be without Vince Dunn. The kid took a puck to the face early in Game 3 and isn’t available to play today. Carl Gunnarsson will play in his place. According to NHL.com, rookie Robert Thomas did not skate with the team yesterday or today, but he’s likely in the lineup tonight.

Jaden Schwartz - Brayden Schenn - Vladimir Tarasenko

Sammy Blais - Ryan O’Reilly - David Perron

Pat Maroon - Tyler Bozak - Robert Thomas

Ivan Barbashev - Oskar Sundqvist - Alexander Steen

Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester - Colton Parayko

Carl Gunnarsson - Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Where to Watch

Puck drop will be at 5 p.m. Pacific/8 p.m. Eastern from Enterprise Center in St. Louis. The game will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Net in the United States and on CBC and Sportsnet in Canada. You can also listen to the radio call on 98.5 KFOX in the Bay Area.