After a brutal missed call led to a Blues loss in Game 3, St. Louis was able to rebound and even the series on Friday night at home. The Blues came out of the gate hot and scored two first period goals that found the back of the net after last touching San Jose Sharks defenders. That would be all the offense they needed on the night as they took a 2-1 win in Game 4.
Ivan Barbashev and Tyler Bozak were credited with the two goals for St. Louis, and Jordan Binnington stopped 29 shots to become the 10th rookie goaltender with 10 wins in a postseason, which is also a Blues' team record.
Defenseman Brent Burns tallied an assist on the lone Sharks goal. Burns had a very solid game, playing nearly 27 minutes and generating a number of offensive chances. He hit the post twice as the San Jose offensive attack came alive with consistent pressure in the second and third periods. Thomas Hertl tallied the lone Sharks goal.
The Boston Bruins might be the big winner here, though, as the Blues' Game 4 win means the Western Conference Final will go at least six games, guaranteeing more rest for the Eastern Conference champions ahead of the Stanley Cup Final.
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NHL Playoffs for Friday, May 17
Game 4: FINAL -- Blues 2, Sharks 1 (Series tied 2-2) [Box Score]
San Jose finally breaks through
The Sharks finally got on the board about eight minutes into the third period. With San Jose on the power play, Brent Burns put a shot on net that snuck through Jordan Binnington but not past the goal line. The Blues failed to cover a couple of Sharks players in front of the net and Tomas Hertl was able to get his stick on the loose puck in the crease to knock it in and cut the lead to 2-1.
The Sharks continued to pressure St. Louis and get some quality chances, but the Blues bent without breaking. San Jose pulled the goaltender with two minutes remaining in the period but couldn't get the equalizer and the Blues held on for the 2-1 win.
Sharks run the second period
The Sharks largely dominated the second period, holding periods of sustained possession in the Blues' zone as they cycled the puck and generated chances. However, San Jose didn't get any offense to show for it and, as such, the game remains 2-0 heading into the third period.
St. Louis did a good job limiting the time and space that Sharks players could work with directly in front of the net. Jordan Binnington also did a solid job denying the chances that San Jose generated, and he also got some help from the posts behind him.
In the middle frame, the Sharks out-chanced the Blues 12-3. They've got to be frustrated that they don't have anything to show for it, but they've still got 20 more minutes of regulation to make something happen before this series heads back to San Jose.
Blues score early
You knew the Blues would be looking for a quick start on Friday to help put Game 3 behind them, and they sure got it. St. Louis scored on their first shot of the game when Ivan Barbashev saw his attempt deflect off the stick of a Sharks defender and beat Martin Jones for an early 1-0 lead.
The Blues doubled that lead later in the first period when they scored on the power play. Vladimir Tarasenko put a shot on net and the rebound pinballed off skates and sticks before trickling through Jones. The goal was officially credited to Tyler Bozak.
That's the second straight game in which the Blues have scored a power play goal -- a good sign for a team that had gone 0-for-18 on the man advantage prior to scoring on their only PP in Game 3.