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DeBoer says the Sharks ‘basically (lost) the game’ in the second period

Brian Elliott made 31 saves as the Blues held on late to beat the Sharks 2-1 to grab Game 1 of the Western Conference Final.

The San Jose Sharks may have allowed the first goal in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Sunday, but it didn’t take them very long to respond. Tomas Hertl tied the game 34 seconds after David Backes opened the scoring in the first period.

The Sharks took over the game in the second period. They outshot the Blues 16-5 and spent most of the period in St. Louis’ zone, but they found themselves down 2-1 going into the third.

“I think we were a little tentative to start the game,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said, per the Sharks’ website. “I thought the first period was a little feeling out. We talked between the first and second, started to play our game in the second period and really I thought in the second period ... the tragedy of the second period was we spent the whole period in their end and lost the period 1-0. That was basically the game.”

Two key plays in the period didn’t go San Jose’s way.

First, Jori Lehtera’s game-winning goal on Martin Jones simply can’t find its way into the net. Jones needed to make that save and he admitted it after the game.

“Not much to it, just found a hole ... it [stinks] that it decided the game, but nothing really to panic over,” Jones said. “I’ll make that save next time.”

Second, the Blues benefited from a quick whistle when Brian Elliott failed to cover up a slow rolling puck late in the second period. Had the referee not blown the whistle, Joel Ward would have had a golden opportunity to tie the game.

The Sharks, who were outstanding on the road this season, will look to even up the series on Tuesday night in St. Louis.