KO Sharks in Game 6, reach first Final since '70
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[May 22, 2019]
The worst team in the entire NHL
a few days into the new year completed an astounding turnaround
Tuesday as the St. Louis Blues advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for
the first time since 1970.
The team that fired its coach in November and sat dead last in the
NHL when the sun rose on Jan. 3 dispatched the San Jose Sharks in a
six-game Western Conference final, capped by a 5-1 home-ice victory
on Tuesday. The Blues will meet the Boston Bruins in the
"A lot of us felt we were in games and close and couldn't find a way
to win them," captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "We had some good
honest conversations and knew we had to be better. We looked each
other in the eye and we did it."
The Blues dominated the undermanned Sharks in the clincher. They now
will open the Stanley Cup Final on Monday in Boston, and face the
Bruins team they met the last time they went this far. That series
was memorialized by Bobby Orr's winning overtime goal that he
celebrated by going airborne.
David Perron collected a goal and an assist Tuesday, and Ryan
O'Reilly posted three assists in the victory.
"It was a special moment for all of us," said goalie Jordan
Binnington, who stopped 25 shots. "We're excited and looking forward
to the next round."
The Sharks, who are potentially facing major turnover before next
season, were without a trio of key players. Forwards Joe Pavelski
and Tomas Hertl were injured in Game 5, while defenseman Erik
Karlsson was sidelined due to an apparent groin injury, and the
hosts took advantage.
Perron opened the scoring just 92 seconds into the clash and
Vladimir Tarasenko netted a power-play goal with 3:44 remaining in
the opening frame to stake St. Louis to a 2-0 lead.
Dylan Gambrell -- who drew into the San Jose lineup due to the
injuries -- scored his first NHL goal at the 6:40 mark of the second
period to put the Sharks on the board and give them life.
[to top of second column]
Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (left) and defenseman Robert
Bortuzzo (41) celebrate their win over the San Jose Sharks in game
six of the Western Conference Final of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs
at Enterprise Center. The St. Louis Blues won 5-1. Mandatory Credit:
Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
However, St. Louis' Brayden Schenn quashed those hopes six minutes
later when he buried a rebound for the power-play goal that snapped
his goal drought at 13 games. Tyler Bozak and Ivan Barbashev iced
the game with third-period goals.
St. Louis won the last three games in the series, all coming after
their controversial Game 3 overtime loss in which the winning goal
was scored despite an obvious hand-pass. That game appeared to
galvanize the team, even if they outwardly shrugged it off at the
"My feeling was if we're going to win the next game we were going to
win the series because we took that road," Perron said. "I'm glad we
approached it that way."
The Blues outscored the Sharks 12-2 in the final three games.
"Their team is a hard team. I think the two hardest, heaviest teams
are in the final," Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said. "Everyone
talks about skill and all the small players, and there is room for
that, but I don't think it's an accident. They're heavy, hard and
organized. There wasn't any room out there."
Certainly not any room for a Sharks comeback.
"I was proud of our group tonight," DeBoer added. "I don't think the
score reflected the work we put in. I know what the scoreboard said
at the end of the night, but I felt we made them earn it. We showed
up in tough circumstances and got efforts from everybody. That's all
you can ask."
--Field Level Media
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