Blues, Sharks continue deadlocked series in San Jose
The second-seeded St. Louis Blues used their goaltending depth to even the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals at one win apiece, and they'll try to grab their first lead of the series when they visit the San Jose Sharks for tonight's Game 3 at HP Pavilion.
Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott combined to make 29 saves to help the Blues take a 3-0 decision over the seventh-seeded Sharks in Saturday's Game 2. The victory allowed St. Louis to rebound from a 3-2 overtime setback in the series opener.
Halak left the game about a minute into the second period when he was crashed into by teammate Barret Jackman. He appeared to get his left leg bent back underneath him and tried to stay in, but was unable to and Elliott took over.
Elliott, who set a franchise record with nine shutouts during the regular season, will get the start tonight and the Blues have recalled Jake Allen from Peoria of the AHL to serve as the backup.
"It shows the depth we have in net," Blues center T.J. Oshie said. "Both of those guys are our hardest workers. It's been consistently like that from training camp all the way until tonight. It's going to be like that the rest of the playoffs."
Halak stopped 12 shots and Elliott made 17 saves for just the third combined shutout in playoff history and help the Blues win a playoff game for the first time since April 12, 2004.
That previous postseason victory also came against the Sharks, who ousted St. Louis in five games when the clubs met in the 2004 conference quarterfinals. The Blues have only made the playoffs once between that series and now and their last postseason trip in 2009 resulted in a four-game sweep at the hands of Vancouver.
Vladimir Sobotka and David Backes each scored for the second-seeded Blues, while Andy McDonald added a tip-in goal in the final minute.
Antti Niemi gave up all three goals on 32 shots for the Sharks. San Jose was 26-12-3 at the Shark Tank this season and will try to rebound at home, where it will also host Game 4 on Thursday.
St. Louis was just 19-16-6 as the road team during the regular season.
The Blues are in the playoffs for just the second time in the post- lockout era and enter this postseason coming off their first Central Division title since 2000. St. Louis is hoping to avoid its fate from 12 years ago, when it won the division and claimed the top seed in the West only to get bounced out in the first round by San Jose.