Binnington sparkles again, Blues top Sharks to tie series
By Joe Harris
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jordan Binnington made 29 saves to set a franchise record with his 10th playoff win this postseason and the St. Louis Blues edged the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Friday night to even the Western Conference final at two games apiece.
Tyler Bozak and Ivan Barbashev scored in the first period for the Blues, giving Binnington all the scoring he needed.
Tomas Hertl scored for the Sharks, and Martin Jones made 20 saves.
Game 5 is in San Jose on Sunday.
Barbashev gave the Blues a quick lead when his shot deflected off of Gustav Nyquist’s stick and into the net just 35 seconds in. Alexander Steen’s hip check of Brent Burns behind the Sharks’ net created a turnover that led to Barbashev’s first career playoff goal.
There have been seven goals scored in the opening minute of playoff games this year, with three of them coming against San Jose – the most since the Boston Bruins allowed four during their Stanley Cup run in 2011.
The Blues needed just 9 seconds to convert on a power play as Bozak’s shot found its way through several skates and past Jones to make it 2-0 with 2:07 left in the first.
San Jose tilted the ice in its favor in the second period, but Binnington stopped all 11 shots the Sharks sent his way. Burns had the Sharks’ best chance, hitting the crossbar with about three minutes left in the period.
Hertl banged home a rebound off of a slap shot by Burns on the Sharks’ second power play of the game at 6:48 of the third period to cut the Blues’ lead to 2-1. The goal snapped San Jose’s scoreless streak of 226 minutes, 48 seconds in Game 4s in a playoff series dating to last year’s postseason.
FACE IN THE CROWD
Soccer star Becky Sauerbrunn was at the game. The U.S. women’s national team played a friendly against New Zealand at Busch Stadium on Thursday night.
NOTES: The Blues and Sharks entered the game with 42 points each in the playoffs, the most in the NHL. … Blues D Vince Dunn, who was hit in the face by a puck in Game 3, was replaced in the lineup by Carl Gunnarsson.