St. Louis - May 22, 2019 - The St. Louis Blues advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1970 with a 5-1 win against the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final at Enterprise Center on Tuesday.
St. Louis, which won the final three games of the best-of-7 series, will play the Boston Bruins in the Cup Final. Game 1 is at Boston on Monday.
Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn each scored a power-play goal, Ryan O'Reilly had three assists, and Jordan Binnington made 25 saves for the Blues.
"The final minutes, counting down there and how loud the rink was and the atmospehere was awesome," Binnington said. "We're excited and looking forward to the next round."
Dylan Gambrell scored, and Martin Jones made 14 saves for the Sharks, who were without defenseman Erik Karlsson and forwards Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski because of injury.
"I was proud of our group tonight," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. "I don't think the score reflected the work that we put in. I know what the scoreboard said at the end of the night, but I felt we made them earn it tonight. I thought we showed up under tough circumstances. ... That's all you can ask."
David Perron gave the Blues a 1-0 lead 1:32 into the first period when he tipped a shot from Sammy Blais.
Tarasenko made it 2-0 with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle at 16:16 of the first. He had at least one point in each game of the series (three goals, five assists).
"Nobody wants to fly four more hours back to San Jose," Tarasenko said. "We had a chance like this [to clinch in Game 6 of the first round against the Winnipeg Jets]. Everybody was preparing and ready to end it tonight."
Gambrell got the Sharks within 2-1 at 6:40 of the second period. It was his first NHL goal in 12 games (regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs).
"We didn't score too many goals," said San Jose forward Logan Couture, who leads the NHL with 14 goals and 20 points in the postseason. "It's pretty obvious you're not going to win scoring zero, then one most nights. We dried up offensively. They played hard, and we didn't get enough around their goaltender."
Schenn put in the rebound of an Alex Pietrangelo shot at 12:47 to give the Blues a 3-1 lead. It was his first goal in 14 games dating to April 18, in Game 5 against the Jets.
"I think more or less the point in the game we were at we needed a goal, and that was huge," Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said. "Obviously, he was excited for that one. To give us a late lead going into the third was huge for us."
The Sharks scored two goals in the final three games of the series after scoring 13 in the first three.
"I thought we had a lot of really good chances tonight too," Sharks defenseman Brent Burns said. "Missed opportunities. That's all it takes this time of year. The difference between winning and not winning is so close. You can't take anything away from that team, they played great from top to bottom."
Tyler Bozak scored at 13:05 of the third to make it 4-1, and Ivan Barbashev scored an empty-net goal at 17:45 for the 5-1 final.
"The feeling? It feels really good," Blais said. "With all we've been through this year and getting the win at home in Game 6, it's big for us and it's big for our fans. We're really happy, but we're not done yet. We've got four more wins to get to win the big prize at the end, and we're not going to stop here.
They said it
"You get a taste in 2016 against these guys, you're two wins away from being in the [Cup Final]. When you get a taste of it like that, you want to make sure you take advantage of it again." -- Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo on losing to the Sharks in the Western Conference Final in 2016
"Our goal was to win the Stanley Cup, and we didn't get the job done. To take any satisfaction of getting past the first two rounds is pretty hard to do in this moment in time." -- Sharks coach Peter DeBoer
"We competed hard. We expected that. We expected the 20 guys that dressed to compete hard, and we did. I don't think the score dictated the game. We played hard tonight." -- Sharks center Joe Thornton
Need to know
Tarasenko is the second Blues player to have at least one point in each game of a conference final/NHL semifinal. Gary Sabourin had five points (four goals, one assist) in four games in the 1969 NHL Semifinals. ... St. Louis improved to 9-1 when scoring in the first six minutes of a game in the playoffs. ... It's the fourth time the Blues have made the Stanley Cup Final. They were swept three straight years from 1968-70, including by the Bruins in 1970. ... Gambrell is the second Sharks player to score his first NHL goal in the playoffs, joining Marcel Goc (May 4, 2004). ... The Blues were 2-for-2 on the power play. ... Pietrangelo's assist was his 13th point of the playoffs, breaking a tie with Joe Micheletti (1981), Jeff Brown (1990, 1991) and Al MacInnis (1999) for most by a St. Louis defenseman in a single postseason. ... San Jose was 4-0 in the playoffs when facing elimination.