Blues 5, Sharks 0 | St. Louis leads series, 3-2: N.H.L. Playoffs: Blues, With Hat Trick and Shutout, Move 1 Win From Finals

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Vladimir Tarasenko scored on a penalty shot and Jaden Schwartz added the first of his three goals during a dominant second period that fueled the St. Louis Blues to a 5-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

The rout gave the Blues a 3-2 series lead, putting them on the verge of their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals in nearly a half-century. They have not made it that far since their first three seasons as the winner of the all-expansion Western Conference, from 1968 to 1970. Game 6 is in St. Louis on Tuesday night.

St. Louis used a relentless forecheck to take control in the second period, getting the two goals and outshooting the Sharks, 20-6. It also got 21 saves from Jordan Binnington in his first playoff shutout and a first-period goal from Oskar Sundqvist.

Schwartz added two goals in the third for his second hat trick this postseason, becoming the first player with two in one playoff run since Johan Franzen for Detroit in 2008.

Martin Jones made 35 saves for the Sharks but got little help from his teammates, who have been held to one goal in losing the past two games. San Jose now faces elimination for the third straight series, having overcome a 3-1 series deficit to Vegas in the first round and winning a Game 7 at home in the second round against Colorado.

San Jose got off to a spirited start. Evander Kane hit the post just 12 seconds into the game, and the Sharks had the better of the play in the opening 20 minutes despite falling behind, 1-0, when Sundqvist converted a turnover from a hobbled Erik Karlsson into a goal at 5 minutes 50 seconds.

Karlsson has been hampered by a groin injury that sidelined him for 27 of the final 33 games in the regular season and has been extremely limited since the third period of Game 4. He tried to make a quick outlet under pressure, but his pass went through the skates of his teammate Brenden Dillon, off the boards and right to Sundqvist, who beat Jones to give the Blues their fourth goal of the series from the fourth line.

The Blues took over in the second period, putting 11 shots on goal in less than five minutes. They added to the lead when Tarasenko’s shot was partly blocked. Jones swept the puck away, but it went right to Schwartz, who knocked it into the open net.

The Blues kept up the pressure, leading to a breakaway by Tarasenko. He was pulled down by Brent Burns for a penalty shot and converted it with a shot high to Jones’s glove side. It was the first successful penalty shot in the playoffs ever for the Blues. They missed their only other chance, by Jimmy Roberts in 1968.

The Sharks’ ranks became thinned in the third period. Karlsson and Tomas Hertl, whose head had been jarred by a hit, did not play, and their captain, Joe Pavelski, also left after taking a hard hit from the Blues’ captain, Alex Pietrangelo. Micheal Haley missed the final 12:47 with two minors and a misconduct, and Evander Kane was out the final 2:47 with penalties.

Source: NYT

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