Blues down Sharks to return to Stanley Cup final

AFP
The St. Louis Blues celebrate after beating the San Jose Sharks 5-1 in game six of the NHL Western Conference final to reach the Stanley Cup final (AFP Photo/ELSA)
The St. Louis Blues celebrate after beating the San Jose Sharks 5-1 in game six of the NHL Western Conference final to reach the Stanley Cup final (AFP Photo/ELSA)

Washington (AFP) - The St. Louis Blues are back in the NHL Stanley Cup final for the first time since 1970 after beating the San Jose Sharks 5-1 on Tuesday.

The victory on home ice gave the Blues a 4-2 triumph in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals, their third straight win in the series sending them into a Stanley Cup showdown with the Boston Bruins starting on Monday.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn both scored power-play goals.

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Ryan O'Reilly had three assists, and Jordan Binnington made 25 saves for the Blues, who were swept by the Bruins in the 1970 championship series.

The Blues are the only remaining team from the league's first expansion in 1967-68 not to have won the Stanley Cup.

They have played more games than any other NHL club without lifting the trophy.

"This is unbelievable," forward Pat Maroon said. "This city's been waiting for this for so many years now. ... Four more wins. We just have to continue what we're doing."

Dylan Gambrell scored, and Martin Jones made 14 saves for the Sharks, who were without injured defenseman Erik Karlsson and forwards Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski.

"I was proud of our group tonight," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. "I don't think the score reflected the work that we put in. I know what the scoreboard said at the end of the night, but I felt we made them earn it tonight."

David Perron gave the Blues a 1-0 lead 1:32 into the first period, tipping in a shot from Sammy Blais.

Tarasenko made it 2-0 with a wrist shot from the left at 16:16 of the first.

Gambrell pulled the Sharks within 2-1 at 6:40 of the second period.

Schenn put in the rebound of an Alex Pietrangelo shot at 12:47 to give the Blues a 3-1 lead and Tyler Bozak scored at 14:05.

Ivan Barbashev scored an empty-net goal at 17:45 for the 5-1 final.

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