ST. LOUIS -- The Blues got even in the Western Conference final with a nail-biting 2-1 win over San Jose in Game 4 on Friday night at Enterprise Center.
The Blues came out strongly in the first period of Game 4, scoring a goal just 35 seconds in and then adding a power-play goal late in the first period.
The second period was a matter of survival for the Blues, as the Sharks had the puck for long stretches of time. On one shift late in the period, the Blues line of Tyler Bozak, Robert Thomas and Pat Maroon were caught on the ice for well over a minute and couldn't get off as the Sharks continued to cycle the puck through the zone. Finally, after an icing call, Bozak won a faceoff and flipped the puck out of the zone, allowing the players to get a breather.
In the second period, the Blues were outshot 11-8. It looked at one point like the Sharks would get a power play after Brayden Schenn skated in to shove Marc-Edouard Vlasic after he took a swipe at Jordan Binnington's glove as he covered a puck. Schenn was sent to the penalty box, but after the referees conferred, Vlasic was also sent off to keep the game even at 4 on 4. The Sharks, however dominated that stretch, having the puck in the Blues zone almost the entire two minutes, but no one scored.
San Jose got a goal to tighten matters up on a power play with 13:13 to go in the third. The Blues had had a power after Pat Maroon was high sticked, but midway through the power play, Alex Pietrangelo was called for interference and after a brief 4 on 4, San Jose sent on the power play. Just 13 seconds into the man advantage, Brent Burns took a shot from the left point that Binnington slowed but didn't stop. Tomas Hertl reached in to poke in the loose puck. It was the first goal of the series for Hertl, who had nine in the first two rounds.
Ivan Barbashev got the first goal, on a shot from the left that hit the stick of San Jose's Gustav Nyquist and beat goalie Martin Jones to the short side. The play was set in motion by a forecheck by Alexander Steen on Burns that led to Burns passing the puck to Barbashev. It was the third goal for the fourth line in the past three games.
San Jose had long possessions in the Blues end but Binnington stopped all nine shots he faced, including a glove save on Melker Karlsson, who was all alone to Binnington's left and had time to set up and shoot.
The Blues' improved power play didn't show much the first time out, but the second time around, it needed just nine seconds to score. With Timo Meier in the box for hooking Ryan O'Reilly as the Blues tried to break out the puck, Vladimir Tarasenko shot from the left point that went into the blender in front of the net. Eventually, the puck went in off the skate of San Jose's Justin Braun and Bozak got credit for it. It was his fourth goal of the playoffs, though on replays it looked like Bozak never touched it.
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