Game two of the Western Conference Finals had a little bit of everything, with both teams shining, as well as making costly mistakes. It seemed it was Logan Couture’s show to lose midway through. St. Louis ended up making more quality plays when given the opportunity, leaving San Jose with a 4-2 win on May 13 and heading home with a tied series.
Blues break the ice
After a lackluster performance in game one, the Blues shook it off and went back to work. They were on the attack from the get-go, resulting in an early save chance for Martin Jones. The attack didn’t stop until the Blues prevailed, just over two minutes into the first period. Jaden Schwartz managed to find some open ice in front of the crease with Vladimir Tarasenko drawing a couple of defenders.
Schwartz finished off the play by netting a shot top-shelf, zipping it by Jones.
Despite having a couple of power play opportunities, St. Louis failed to score another goal in the period. Their defense played even better, killing off one power play chance and blocking several other shots to lighten the load for Jordan Binnington.
They continued their surge early in the second period, when Vince Dunn tallied a goal to double their lead. Slapping a shot just inside the blue line, the puck managed to weave through traffic in front of Jones and into the net.
Couture gets rolling
Just when it seemed like St. Louis had the game in hand, completely opposite of game one, they messed up. Despite being on a power play, having a chance to go up three goals, they ended up turning the puck over to the ever quick Logan Couture. He zoomed down the ice, fending off one defender and snuck the puck under Binnington, cutting the deficit to one.
Just under two minutes later, none other than Couture was back on the attack after another giveaway by the Blues. He’d make them pay, again, with a snipe off the pass from Timo Meier.
Not only did he score his 12th and 13th goals of the playoffs, he also scored his 99th and 100th career postseason points. With 46 postseason goals in his career, Couture only trails Alexander Ovechkin (50) for most in NHL History.
St. Louis finishes it off
As hyped up as the crowd was following Couture’s heroics, they were quieted back down late in the second period. St. Louis seemed like they were aiming to give it all away, making countless questionable passes, but their offense bailed them out.
With just under four minutes left in the period, the Blues worked the puck deep into the zone, taking a shot at Jones with Robert Bortuzzo cleaning up the rebound. He briefly deked out Jones before flipping a back-handed shot home for a nifty looking goal. It was more than just another goal, with Bortuzzo netting his first in his playoff career.
Binnington put on a display for the visitors, a huge bounce back from letting in six goals two nights prior. He was having such a difficult time in game one, there were questions regarding if he would get the start or if the Blues would turn to Jake Allen, their veteran backup. He had a much better performance in net, stopping all but two shots from Couture.
Late in the third, St. Louis added the dagger goal to all but seal a victory. After getting a takeaway in the defensive zone, the Blues used Alex Pietrangelo to get the puck in deep. He then passed to Alex Steen, who pivoted and passed to a cutting Oskar Sundqvist, netting a goal before Jones could fully defend him.
With the net empty for much of the last two minutes, San Jose threw six more chances on net, all saved by Binnington. St. Louis was content to keep their lead and just missed on scoring against the open net.
Blues: Jaden Schwartz/Oskar Sundqvist/Robert Bortuzzo/Vince Dunn (one goal), Joel Edmundson (two assists), Tyler Bozak/Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Alex Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Pietrangelo (one assist), Jordan Binnington (24 saves on 26 attempts)
Sharks: Logan Couture (two goals), Timo Meier (one assist), Martin Jones (21 saves on 25 attempts)
Game three will be in St. Louis on May 15, with puck drop set for 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.