Joe Pavelski tied the game late in the second period and then scored the go-ahead goal in the opening minute of the third period in the San Jose Sharks’ 6-3 win over the St. Louis Blues for a 3-2 lead in Western Conference final on Monday night at Scottrade Center. The Blues continue to struggle at home in the playoffs, falling to 4-6.
Pavelski leads all players in the playoffs with 12 goals.
Rookie Robby Fabbri scored and David Backes had an assist. Both are fighting injuries, but at this time of the year, it’s all hands on deck. The Blues will need both players again in Game 6 on Wednesday night. Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored seven goals and six assists against Chicago and Dallas, has been scoreless through the first five games against the Sharks.
If the Blues keep their season alive, they must win again on the road, where they are 6-3.
The difference in Game 5 came down to the Blues penalty killing. The Sharks were 2-for-3 on Monday night on the power play, after the Blues killed 13-of-15 in the first four games of the series. Jake Allen also, did not provide the continued spark that he gave the Blues in Game 4. Allen gave up four goals on 25 shots. (San Jose added two empty net goals late).
The Blues need to go back to Brian Elliott for the remainder of this series. One of my concerns heading into the playoffs was that Ken Hitchcock would get into playing musical goalies if the team ran into trouble. Elliott needed a breather and using Allen in Game 4 made sense, but Hitch needs to return to Elliott, who carried this team several times through the first two rounds.
The Blues have to hope Elliott doesn’t go from fresh to rusty.