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Lehtera’s knuckler stands as the game-winner, Blues take Game 1 of Western Conference Final

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.

It might not be the way the Blues drew it up, but they managed to come away with a 2-1 win in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Sharks.

St. Louis opened the scoring at the 15:04 mark of the opening frame (they had a goal called back minutes earlier), when David Backes deflected a puck by Martin Jones.

Unfortunately for the Blues, the Sharks responded just 34 seconds later when Tomas Hertl tied the game at one (the goal was originally given to Joe Pavelski).

The Blues came out of the first intermission a little slow, as they waited 7:30 to take their first shot on goal, but they found a way to take the lead. Jori Lehtera’s innocent looking shot found a way to get by Jones and give the Blues a 2-1 lead in the game.

That wasn’t Martin Jones’ finest moment.

The Sharks pressed and pressed, but they never found a way to get the game-tying goal. San Jose outshot and outchanced the Blues (especially late in the game with Jones on the bench). St. Louis found a way to get it done.

San Jose did hit a couple of goalposts in the game, but Blues goalie Brian Elliott got the job done again.

A lot was made of both team’s struggles on home ice coming into the series. The win at the Scottrade Center improves the Blues’ home record to 4-4 this postseason.

Game 2 of the Western Conference Final will go Tuesday night in St. Louis.