The Boston Bruins are eagerly awaiting the winner of the St. Louis-San Jose Western Conference Final and will get 10 days off as the Stanley Cup Final is scheduled to begin on Monday May 27 in Boston. The Bruins practiced Sunday after taking a couple of days off while Zdeno Chara and Steven Kampfer skated before practice but did not partake in the session. David Krejci did not make an appearance but GM Don Sweeney mentioned that Krejci does not like to practice. That one we will take with a grain of salt.
ST. LOUIS 5 SAN JOSE 0 (St. Louis leads the best-of-seven series 3-2)
WOW (and I don’t mean War of Will)! The St. Louis Blues came into San Jose for Game 5 Sunday and smothered the Sharks, shutting them out 5-0. Jaden Schwartz potted the hat trick while Jordan Binnington stopped all 21 shots in garnering the win
The game started off with a great chance by San Jose just 10 seconds into the contest as Evander Kane snapped a shot off the post, past Binnington, but the puck stayed out of the net.
The Sharks totally outplayed the Blues at the start of the game but that ended when Erik Karlsson made an errant pass that caromed off the boards and went right to Oskar Sundqvist who quickly made it 1-0 when his shot beat Martin Jones. It was the only goal of the opening period as the Sharks outshot St. Louis 11-4.
But the Blues came out flying in the second period and were rewarded when Schwartz scored his 10th of the playoffs and first of the afternoon off a horrible rebound by Jones at the 3:05 mark of the period. Vladimir Tarasenko slapped the puck that Jones redirected with his stick, right on to the stick of Schwartz.
The Blues then upped the lead to 3-0 when Tarasenko became the first Blues player to score on a penalty shot in the post-season. Tarasenko received the penalty shot when Brent Burns brought him down on a breakaway and Tarasenko made no mistake as his slapshot beat Jones cleanly.
St. Louis continued to press the play and although there was no more scoring in the second period, the Blues outshot San Jose 20-6.
It was much of the same in the third period as Schwartz scored both goals to complete the hat trick and St. Louis continued to control the play as they outshot San Jose 16-4 to outshoot them 40-21 in the game and 36-10 in the last two periods. It was the second hat trick of the playoffs for Schwartz.
Schwartz now has 12 goals in the playoffs in 18 games after scoring only 11 goals in 69 regular season contests. He has certainly come into his own during these playoffs and is only one goal shy of Brett Hull’s St. Louis record of 13 set in the 1990 season. Hull did it in only 12 games.
Tarasenko had a goal and two helpers and has points in all five games in this series with two goals and seven points. The Russian winger had five goals in 13 games in the first two rounds but was without an assist before this series against San Jose.
Binnington picked up his first career playoff shutout and has 11 wins in the playoffs, adding to his Blues record of most wins in one playoff year. He is 11-7 with a 2.44 GAA and a .912 save percentage.
Jones made 35 saves but his poor play on the second goal seemed to tilt the game in St. Louis’ favor. He is 10-8 with a 2.96 GAA and a .902 save percentage, not far off his poor regular season stats of a 2.94 GAA and a .896 save percentage.
The play got chippy in the third and Micheal Haley picked up a couple of minors and a misconduct at the 7:13 mark. Exactly 10 minutes later, Evander Kane picked up a couple of minors and a misconduct as well.
Schwartz had seven shots on goal while Kane had 12 hits to lead both sides.
Brent Burns had four blocked shots.
Erik Karlsson was questionable before the game but played, albeit with limited effectiveness. Karlsson played only 10:32 in the game with 7:29 coming in the first period, 3:23 and none at all in the third as he left the game for good with 7:04 left in the second period. Karlsson has an apparent groin injury, something that kept him out of the lineup for 27 of the Sharks last 33 games and it looks like the Swedish defenseman is still having trouble.
Joe Pavelski was hurt in the second period and did not play in the third as he was on the receiving end of a big hit by Alex Pietrangelo. Tomas Hertl also missed the third after he was hit by Ivan Barbashev and his status for Game 6 is up in the air.
Game 6 will be played on Tuesday with the Blues entertaining the Sharks and looking to finish off San Jose and go head-to-head with Boston in the Stanley Cup Final.