Game in a Sentence:
Another tightly checked game just filled in the theme of tempers boiling over as the Blues battled the Sharks to a 3-0 win and threw plenty of hits and punches in there for good measure too.
- This Blues group seemed much more focused than the game one edition did as they were crisp out of the gate and didn’t need a couple of periods to get going. I was unsure of the Chris Stewart benching by Hitchcock but the team seemed to respond with the new players in the lineup and were probably aware that effort levels are being monitored closely.
- The Sharks just seemed out of sync to me after the first. Make no mistake, while I thought the Blues looked good the Sharks just seemed a half step ahead of them. Pavelski rang a bar and the Sharks appeared to have the better share of possession.
- Halak being knocked out is a bad thing for St. Louis but it sure helps when your back up is the all-star of the two, no? Brian Elliott came in cold and turned aside everything he had to and preserved the shutout. Kind of fitting that they shared a shutout given the way this team works.
- Marc-Edouard Vlasic had a rough night. Actually he had a decent night, but looks really bad after scoring an own goal. I’ve always thought hockey ought to adopt the soccer scoring system and have own goals be a thing.
- The St. Louis depth blew me away during the season and continues to impress now that we’re in the playoffs. Any one of their four lines can make an impact at any given time. All of their players can play at even strength or special teams. Not to mention that eight of their 12 forwards tonight, by my count at least, have played or can play centre at the NHL level. That’s a tough assignment.
- I pointed out before game one that home ice struck me as the key to this series and regardless of how tonight played out for the Sharks they ultimately got a road split to kick off the series. The Shark tank is a difficult place to play – arguably the toughest in hockey – and it will be heated after tonight’s events.
- Suspension watch: Brent Burns, T.J. Galiardi and Vladimir Sobotka could all be getting calls from the league.
- Andy McDonald’s slew foot on Logan Couture – it goes without saying – was totally uncalled for.
- Antti Niemi was good again for the Sharks but the team lagged when he made the occasional mistake and it cost San Jose. Again, the Sharks don’t have to worry about the support they’re going to get in the back end.
- T.J. Oshie with the play of the playoffs to date with his set up on David Backes’ goal. Really spectacular effort.
- I expect the Sharks to come out strong in front of their home crowd and put forth a very good game three effort. Should be… interesting to see what happens.
My Three Stars:
1) Jaroslav Halak/Brian Elliott
2) T.J. Oshie
3) David Perron