Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) celebrates his overtime winner with teammate Gustav Nyquist (14) that controversially ended the game. San Jose would take game 3 by a score of 5-4.
ST. LOUIS, MO – To quote one “Steve Dangle” Glynn, “this League’s going to be so wonderful once they finish building it.”
The St. Louis Blues (1-1) and the San Jose Sharks (1-1) met for the first time in this series in Enterprise Center to open an action-packed game 3. The result was about as expected after what transpired in game 2: relentless, electrifying hockey. Erik Karlsson scored his first of the playoffs to contribute to a 2-0 lead, but St. Louis responded with 4 goals in the second, two of them courtesy of David Perron.
The goaltending of Jordan Binnington and Martin Jones was spectacular, but it was the Sharks getting the game 3 victory, 5-4 in overtime. Karlsson’s second goal of the evening was scored controversially in overtime after a potential hand pass was unable for review. The overtime winner would seal the deal, and St. Louis’ comeback in the second period would fall short.
San Jose now takes the series lead 2-1 and could put a stranglehold on their opponent in the next matchup. St. Louis and San Jose are back at it again on Friday for a 7 pm game 4, which promises to be just as exhilarating as game 3.
The Blues got to a solid start in the opening minutes, registering four shots to San Jose’s two. However, after a powerplay opportunity failed to convert for St. Louis, San Jose’s defense came alive and forced the Blues out. They capitalized on the defensive miscues of the Blues and kept possession time in their zone. However, the Blues defense weathered the storm with them, stopping almost everything that came in front.
Defenseman Vince Dunn even took a heavy slapshot to the face midway and would not return the rest of the game. That hole gave the Sharks some room to operate, and superstar Erik Karlsson finally got his first postseason goal as a Shark.
Karlsson’s first goal was unassisted and gave San Jose a lead 13:37 in the first period. The Sharks only continued to harp on the Blues and wore their defense down. Try as they may, St. Louis’ mismanaged exits continued to burn them, as “Jumbo Joe” Thornton grabbed the backhand rebound after a point blast.
Thronton’s third goal came with three minutes left and doubled the Sharks’ lead. He was assisted by Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Kevin Labanc on the play. The Blues weren’t able to push back late in the first, and the home team headed into the locker room down 2-0. The Blues’ 4 shots early were all they could register to San Jose’s 9.
The Blues came out to play a second period with relentless energy, and they saw it pay off. Just over a minute into the second, Alex Steen received a perfect feed from Ivan Barbashev and he didn’t miss.
Steen’s goal cut the lead in half and got Enterprise Center to their feet, but it was short-lived. Just 18 seconds later, it was Joe Thornton burning the Blues again, netting another after a behind-the-net pass.
Thornton’s second of the game was assisted by Kevin Labanc and Brendon Dillon, giving the 2-goal lead right back. The St. Louis Blues, however, refused to go down quietly. After facing criticism in the game one loss, everyone’s favorite Russian responded admirably.
Tarasenko’s 6th goal was assisted by Brayden Schenn and Colton Parayko. With the lead cut 3-2 just 5 minutes into the second, St. Louis found their groove and gave their all. All four lines contributed in San Jose’s zone and the defense, sans Dunn, was near-perfect in theirs.
Whenever they weren’t, the play of Jordan Binnington only continued to dazzle. This unceasing execution for the Blues connected again when Perron received a perfect cross-ice pass and cleanly beat Jones, high-blocker side.
Perron’s goal tied the game with the help of Parayko and Joel Edmundson, with four minutes remaining in the middle frame. Shortly after, the Blues were granted a powerplay after Brent Burns hooked Oskar Sundqvist.
With a minute left on the man advantage, the 0-for-19 powerplay finally struck gold. Perron scored in identical fashion to his first goal to give his squad the lead.
Perron’s second of the game and 5th of the postseason came courtesy of Parayko and Pat Maroon to take the lead. The lead held through the final minute of the second, and the Blues’ 4-goal period put them on top, 4-3. The Blues put 13 shots to San Jose’s 8 to bring it even, 17-17.
The San Jose Sharks came out knowing just one goal was needed to tie the game, but St. Louis had other plans. The Blues registered some incredible chances, but Martin Jones played spectacularly to keep his team alive. The Sharks had trouble beating Jordan Binnington as well; he played just as superb as Jones through the third.
With time winding down, Jones was pulled for the extra skater for San Jose, and it connected with just one minute left. Logan Couture tied a Sharks’ franchise record for most playoff goals after jamming in a rebound past Binnington. It was his 14th of this postseason.
The Sharks earned at least 20 more minutes to take the game back. St. Louis and San Jose would require overtime to determine the winner, after the lone third period goal, assisted by the Joe’s, tied it in the final minute. St. Louis and San Jose registered an even 12 shots each.
The Sharks and the Blues traded a few chances back and forth, but Binnington and Jones were ready to play as always. However, five minutes into overtime, Timo Meier looked as if he had played the puck off his hand, passing it to Gustav Nyquist. Nyquist then fed Erik Karlsson only a few feet in front of Binnington’s crease, and he buried the game-winner.
The players stayed on the ice for a relatively long time, but to the vitriol of fans and players, the Blues were helpless. Illegal moves not seen by referees committed in overtime are unreviewable, so the Sharks’ goal would stand. The irate St. Louis crowd would have to swallow the loss and lose game 3.
Karlsson’s overtime winner was assisted by Nyquist and (ironically) Meier and would give them the series lead. The shot total was dead even after overtime, 32 all.
Despite what many said was a bad call, the Blues’ locker room knew they were anything but finished. “We’ll move forward, I’m telling you,” David Perron told RDS Info. “We’re a really good team in here… [The call was] unacceptable, but it’s okay. It’s [only] 2-1 right now”.
“I’ve got nothing to say about [the call],” coach Craig Berube told Andy Strickland of Fox Sports. “It’s difficult to lose in overtime, playoffs; anytime, but the team’s gotta move on and get ready for game 4. That’s all we can do.”
The St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks are back in Enterprise on Friday at 8 pm ET, with the Blues looking for revenge in the series. To follow all the action of game 4, head to:
STL – NBCSN, KMOX 1120, NBC Sports App, NHL.tv
SJS – NBCSN, KHTK 1140, NBC Sports App, NHL.tv
Vince Dunn’s injury status is still to be determined, with some speculating a broken jaw.
AROUND THE PLAYOFFS
BOS@CAR – Carolina’s season is on the line Thursday night, down 3-0 in the series against the Bruins. Boston would advance to their first Cup Final since 2013 with a win.
MLB – The Cardinals were shut out against the Atlanta Braves, 4-0, to drop 3.5 games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs. The 3-game series concludes Thursday at 6:20pm.
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