Louis Blues: Why Winning Game 5 Was So Important

After San Jose winger Evander Kane hit the post seconds into Game 5, St. Louis went ahead 1-0 on an errant pass by Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson before the Blues absolutely dominated the middle period.

The victory gave the Blues a 3-2 series lead, the closest they've been to making the final since getting there in their first three seasons as the victor of the all-expansion Western Conference. "Had to go on the road and win in Vegas in order to get to a Game 7".

Veteran Shark Joe Pavelski, who missed most of the second round due to a concussion, was injured on his first shift of the third period when hit hard along the boards by Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo.

St. Louis can earn its first trip back to the final since 1970 with a win at home in Game 6 on Tuesday night, an improbable journey for a team that was last in the standings on January 2. With a wide open shot, Karlsson buried it behind Jordan Binnington, giving the Sharks the win.

"We've got a lot of time to make the absolute right decision and give him the proper time to get over something that's been nagging him", general manager Don Sweeney said Saturday.

Still, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon is optimistic about keeping the Western Conference finals going to an all-or-nothing Game 7 showdown Thursday.

San Jose is 0-6 this postseason when leading a series.

In his last two games, he has limited San Jose to just a single goal.

It's hard to say only the Sharks deserved to win in Game 4, as the Blues did a good job protecting the house and that allowed Binnington to handle the rest. "With the way the last game ended, we should have known how they were going to come out and we were just a little more casual at the start of the game". "You're never comfortable when your back's against the wall like that, but we have been here before and found a way and I'm confident we can do that again". In a back-and-forth game that saw the Sharks score with one minute remaining to force overtime, it was a call in the extra frame that left the Blues fuming.

"Arguably a five-minute major on Tommy Hertl, if you get that - that's a momentum-changing play right there", the coach said.

It was an impressive rebound from a crushing Game 3 loss when the Blues allowed the tying goal with 1:01 left in regulation and then the victor in overtime after the officials failed to see a hand pass by San Jose that set up Erik Karlsson's goal. "Would have really liked us to control our emotions and given ourselves a chance".

Everything fell apart. They got lit up for five goals (three from Jaden Schwartz), were outshot 30-8 during the meat of the game and didn't have the players left to mount any sort of counter attack that didn't involve trying to punch someone in the mouth. We like to play for each other, stick up for each other. "I think the guys know that". If they dare look up, they'll see a Stanley Cup Final awaiting them.

  • Angelo Rivera