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Hockey Daily Dose

Sharks on verge of Cup Final

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The San Jose Sharks are on the brink of playing in their first Stanley Cup Final as they went on the road and knocked off the St. Louis Blues 6-3 Monday.

 

The game was closer than the score indicated as the Sharks scored twice in the last minute of play (both into the empty net) to pull away from the Blues and take a 3-2 series lead.

 

Look for James O’Brien’s Dose tomorrow as the Lightning attempt to finish off the Penguins in Game 6 back in Tampa Bay.

 

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SAN JOSE 6 ST. LOUIS 3 (San Jose leads series 3-2)

Joe Pavelski was the offensive star of the game for San Jose as he scored twice including the tying and winning goal. He also chipped in with an assist and now has 12 goals and 21 points in the post-season. He is tied for the league lead in points with teammate Logan Couture and is a goal ahead of Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov. He will get a lot of Conn Smythe consideration should the Sharks win Lord Stanley’s Cup.

 

Marc-Edouard Vlasic opened the scoring with his first goal of the playoffs as his shot from the point eluded a screened Jake Allen. Joe Thornton won the faceoff and Joe Pavelski corralled the puck, passing to Vlasic who slapped it past the St. Louis netminder.

 

But the Blues came back to take the lead after one as Jaden Schwartz with his fourth of the post-season and Troy Brouwer with his eighth gave the Blues a 2-1 edge heading into the second.

 

Schwartz scored after a Patrik Berglund shot caromed off David Backes right to Schwartz who made no mistake to tie the game at one.  Backes was a game-time decision but the power forward managed to play despite suffering an upper body injury in Game 4.

 

Brouwer then gave the Blues the lead as he swatted the puck out of midair on a rebound from a Peter Stastny shot.

 

Joel Ward scored his first of two, 4:37 into the second period to tie the game at two on the power play, but Robby Fabbri (another game time decision with a lower body injury) gave the Blues their final lead of the game at 3-2 with a power play effort.

 

Then Pavelski took over. He tied the game at three as he fired a shot past Allen after moving in from the point on a power play. The star of the Sharks then scored on a beautiful tip-in, only 16 seconds into the third.

 

Chris Tierney and Ward with his second, salted the game away as both scored into the empty net.

 

Martin Jones stopped only 18-of-21 shots but it was good enough as Jake Allen allowed four to get by him on only 25 shots.

 

Don’t be surprised if St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock decides to switch goaltenders once again on Wednesday and go back to Brian Elliott.

 

Joe Thornton had three assists in the victory.

 

David Backes led both teams with six hits while, Dainius Zubrus, Tommy Wingels and Paul Martin each had five for the Sharks.

 

There were only six power play attempts in the game, with three going to each team. The Sharks converted on two of three while the Blues were half as good with one goal.

 

Jonathan Willis came up with a great stat as Vlasic has totally neutralized the Blues top offensive star, Vladimir Tarasenko. Willis tweeted that Vlasic has been on the ice for 41:48 in the five games at even strength and Tarasenko has yet to get a point. Furthermore, the Sharks have outshot the Blues 21-14 when both are on the ice in five-on-five situations.

 

Vlasic and Justin Braun were each plus-three in the game.

 

Couture picked up an assist and it was his 14th of the playoffs.

 

Game 6 is back at the Shark Tank. Look for Martin Jones to be in goal for San Jose as he will try to win his 12th game of the playoffs. The visiting team has won three of five games this series so do not be surprised about the outcome in Game 6.

Michael Finewax

Michael Finewax is entering his 16th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for NBC Sports Edge. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.