ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Blues used a 45-second blitz to win their first playoff series in almost 10 years.
David Perron and Jamie Langenbrunner scored on back-to-back shots midway through in the third period to lift the Blues to a 3-1 series-clinching win over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday in Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series before 19, 940 at the Scottrade Center.
St. Louis wins the best-of-seven series 4-1 to capture their first series triumph since stopping Chicago 4-1 in a quarterfinal contest April 25, 2002.
Perron deflected in a shot from the point by Alex Pietrangelo with 7:59 left in the third period to break a 1-1 tie. The Blues, who struggled to solve San Jose netinder Antti Niemei throughout most of the contest, tied the game on the goal by Langenbrunner at 11:16. Langenbrunner scored his 34th career playoff goal from close range off a rebound of a shot by Scott Nicol.
Andy McDonald added an open net goal with 38.2 left in the third period, his fourth tally of the playoffs.
St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott picked up his third win in as many starts in the series. He made 26 saves. Elliott, who replaced the injured Jaroslav Halak in Game, 2 stopped 93 of 98 shots in four appearances.
San Jose took a 1-0 lead on a goal by captain Joe Thornton with 39 seconds left in the second period. It was his second post-season tally this season and 20th of his career.
Second-seeded St. Louis won the best-of-seven series after winning four straight games. Seventh-seeded San Jose won the first game 3-2 in double overtime before the Blues rebounded with a 9-4 scoring advantage during the next three contests.
Including the Sharks' exit now, only 24 times in 253 chances has a team rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win a series.
Niemi and Elliott combined to stop 30 of 31 shots over the first two periods. The Sharks held a 16-15 advantage through the first 40 minutes.
Both teams had plenty of scoring chances in the tight-checking affair.
Thornton, the Sharks' captain, converted from the left side of the crease on a pass from Daniel Winnik. Thornton has a hand in each of the Sharks' last five goals in the series. It was his second of the playoffs and 20th of his career.
St. Louis winger Jamie Langenbrunner had the game's best early chance. He hit the post with a shot from the right wing just over four minutes into the game.
The Blues, who entered the contest 6-for-16 on the power play, came up empty in their only two opportunities. San Jose winger Martin Havlat took a penalty in each of the first two periods. Niemi robbed Alex Pietrangelo with a sliding glove save while the Blues had a man advantage midway through the second period.
The Blues outshot San Jose 7-3 in opening period. San Jose did not have a shot over the final 13:17 of that period.
NOTES: The Sharks are 9-14 when facing elimination. The team that scores first has won the previous four games in the series. ... Andy McDonald, with two goals and four assists on the power play, has a hand in all six of the Blues' man-advantage goals this series. ... San Jose winger Patrick Marleau has 88 post-season points in his career, but was held pointless in the first four games. ... Niemi entered the contest with 114 saves on 125 shots. ...The Blues last series triumph was a 4-1 conquest of Chicago in the 2002 Western Conference quarterfinals. ... The team that scores first had won the first four games.