Share Share 2019 Western Conference Finals: Game 1 Open Thread tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Three years ago, the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues survived their respective Game 7s in the divisional finals to meet up in the 2016 Western Conference Finals. The Sharks knocked off a wild card crossover team from the Central Division, while the Blues marched past the Dallas Stars.
Three years later, the Sharks and Blues survived their respective Game 7s in the divisional finals to meet up in the 2019 Western Conference Finals. San Jose knocked off a wild card crossover team from the Central Division, while the Blues marched past the Dallas Stars.
Video: Couture, Meier power Sharks past Blues in Game 1
These teams 2016 meeting saw the Sharks advance to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in franchise history, defeating the Blues in six games. The Sharks will look for a repeat, while the Blues will look to rewrite the ending of these Conference Final.
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With the Eastern Conference finals already underway, the puck dropped out West as the Sharks and Blues kicked off their conference final.
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San Jose played host for the series opener and the hometown Sharks came away with the victory in a strong Game 1 performance. Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc all got on the board in the Sharks 6-3 win, with Couture and Meier scoring twice in the victory.
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It was a chippy, physical Game 1 that certainly wasnt perfect for either team, but it was an entertaining start to what might be a grueling, long series to find a Western Conference representative in the Stanley Cup Final. Jordan Binnington and Martin Jones didnt have their best start to the series, but their defenses werent exactly in tip-top shape in front of them either.
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Video: Joe Pavelski swats in the rebound for a power-play goal
San Jose is looking to get over the hump and make the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2016, when they lost to the Penguins. The Blues havent been to a Stanley Cup Final since 1970.
The Blues cut the lead to “dangerous” when the Blues caught the Sharks scrambling in their own zone and found Tyler Bozak wide open next to the net. Bozak slipped a shot past Jones. That goal made it 5-3 with seven minutes remaining in the period.
The Golden Knights may have been the victim of high expectations. After all, it’s hard to live up off a Stanley Cup finals appearance in your first season. But the Sharks were a different story. Although they made the playoffs in the disappointing Western Conference, they hype that surrounded the team following the Erik Karlsson trade never seemed to fully arrive, in part due to Karlsson’s regular season injuries.
Its not over yet! @Bozie42 brings the @StLouisBlues to within two. #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/j2zjf1BNAC
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Ultimately, it wasnt enough as the Sharks hung on — and added an empty netter — for the victory in the series opener.
It was a great second period for the Sharks, who have increased their lead to 5-2 heading into the final period of regulation. Kevin Labanc got the first goal of the middle frame when he was able to rip a shot through traffic and past Jordan Binnington about eight minutes into the period. The Blues once again found a quick answer when Ryan OReilly showcased some solid patience after Martin Jones gave up a juicy rebound.
OReilly with the great move to make it a one-goal game again! #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/KF6fgf1JEO
But Timo Meier responded shortly after with what might be the goal of the playoffs so far. Logan Couture forced a turnover by poke checking Colton Parayko, and Meier took advantage by dangling through a Blues defender and pulling a Forsberg on Binnington. just ruthless.
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Meier also added another goal later in the period with the help of some serious puck luck. After a teammate fired a puck off the boards, Meier smacked the redirect towards the middle of the ice and saw it bounce off a Blues defenders skate and deflect past Binnington for a pretty lucky goal.
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It was a pretty eventful (and brutal) first period in San Jose to kick off this series. Its clear that the Blues are placing an emphasis on finishing checks and bringing a physical element to their game, and theyre seeking out some of the Sharks better players to bring the pain.
But it was Logan Couture who got the Sharks on the board first, scoring his 10th goal of these playoffs — tops among all players. That goal is also his 26th postseason goal in the past five years, putting him ahead of Sidney Crosby for third-most in the NHL.
[email protected] opens the Western Conference Final scoring with his 10th of the #StanleyCup Playoffs! pic.twitter.com/q0cWy53Nnu
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The Blues got an answer to that goal when Jaden Schwartz scored his ninth of the postseason. St. Louis will be looking to create traffic in front of Martin Jones in this series and they were able to position Joel Edmundson on the doorstep on Schwartzs tally.
The matchup with the Blues fits Timo Meier, and the Sharks physical and skilled forward is ready for the…
However, San Jose answered the answer thanks to Joe Pavelskis hand-eye coordination. During a 5-on-3 power play for the Sharks, Pavelski was able to deflect his own shot out of mid-air — not once, but twice — and past Jordan Binnington to reclaim the lead for San Jose.
Pete Blackburn is from Boston, so theres a good chance you dont like him already. He has been a writer at CBS Sports since 2017 and usually aims to take a humorous and light-hearted approach to the often… Full Bio