Friday, December 15, 2017
Sports

Blues ride Elliott to opening West win

ST. LOUIS — Brian Elliott had another standout game in net, David Backes and Jori Lehtera had goals, and the Blues opened their first Western Conference final in 15 years with a 2-1 victory over the Sharks on Sunday night.

Tomas Hertl scored on a first-period deflection for the Sharks, who outshot St. Louis 32-23 but couldn't quite solve Elliott, who improved to 4-0 with a 1.29 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage in five career postseason appearances against the Sharks.

Hertl scored 34 seconds after Backes gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead.

Lehtera got the winner in the second period after getting a turnover by Sharks defenseman Brent Burns. Lehtera took a slap shot from near the left boards, and the puck wobbled its way past goalie Martin Jones.

The Blues also got a break in the second period when an early whistle wiped out a goal at 18:46 that Elliott ended up kicking in when the puck got under him. It was the second goal of the game that was kept off the scoreboard. In the first, an apparent goal by the Blues' Patrik Berglund was waved off because of goalie interference.

The Sharks were the best road team in the NHL in the regular season at 28-10-3, but have dropped four in a row on the road in these playoffs.

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First Period1, St. Louis, Backes 7 (Shattenkirk, Schwartz), 15:04 (pp). 2, San Jose, Hertl 3 (Pavelski, Burns, 15:38. PenaltiesLehtera, StL (holding), 3:56; Couture, SJ (tripping), 13:56; Ott, StL (slashing), 17:18.

Second Period3, St. Louis, Lehtera 2, 9:15. PenaltiesNone.

Third PeriodNone. PenaltiesStastny, StL (hooking), 8:44; Hertl, SJ (tripping), 11:06. Shots on Goal—San Jose 8-16-8—32. St. Louis 11-5-7—23. Power-play opportunities—San Jose 0 of 3; St. Louis 1 of 2. Goalies—San Jose, Jones 8-5 (23 shots-21 saves). St. Louis, Elliott 9-6 (32-31).

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