Blues use third-period flurry to oust Sharks in first-round series
St. Louis, MO, United States (AHN Sports) – After a decade, the Blues are back in the conference semifinals after St. Louis tallied three unanswered goals in the third period to finish off the Sharks 3-1 in Game 5 of their Western Conference quarterfinals Friday night at Scottrade Center.
Jamie Langenbrunner and David Perron scored 45 seconds apart in the third period, as the Blues advanced to the second round for the first time since the spring of 2002.
Andy McDonald sealed the triumph with an empty-net goal in the final minute for the surging second-seeded Blues, who prior to his series had not won a playoff game in eight years.
The second seeded Blues won the final four games of the series to advance to the second round for the first time since the spring of 2002.
Brian Elliot, who started the last three games for the Blues after Jaroslav Halak was forced to leave Game 2 with a lower-body injury, remained sharp in between the pipes.
Elliot made 26 saves, including 11 in the third period in the series-clinching triumph over the Sharks, who were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs for the first time since 2009 when they lost to Anaheim in the conference quarterfinals.
Hoping to stave an early exit, the seventh-seeded Sharks, who made it to the Western Conference finals in each of the past two seasons, drew first blood in the final minute of the middle period. Langenbrunner’s equalizer at the 11:16 mark of the fourth ignited St. Louis’ offensive flurry, however.
Joe Thornton provided the lone offense for the Sharks, who received a 24-save effort from Antti Niemi.