The San Jose Sharks put aside any concerns fans betting on hockey might have had about them not being able to outscore – or just score, for that matter – the St. Louis Blues last night at the Scottrade Center. The Sharks shut out the Blues 4-0 and tied the NHL Western Conference Finals 1-1 in game 2 of the series. San Jose’s lethal power play made a much-welcomed return – though both teams failed to make the most of such plays in the first period. The Sharks’ fourth line gave them the advantage early. Tommy Wingels, Dainius Zubrus, and Justin Braun combined on a cycle play to find the former in the slot for his second goal of the postseason and a 1-0 lead. The play was nearly off-sides, but the St. Louis learned from a lost challenge in Game 1 and let the play stand.
Finally, in the second period, the Blues’ Troy Brouwer and Steve Ott were unnecessary penalized behind the play, though it was Brouwer’s time in the box and a broken stick for Alex Steen that allowed Brent Burns to score his fifth goal of the postseason and put San Jose ahead 2-0. Brouwer was close to getting on the board in the third period, but the puck ricocheted off rang off the post and out. Then, just for kicks, he then got caught yet again with a penalty, and Burns capitalized with his second power play goal of the game. Zubrus scored an empty-netter in the final minute. Sharks goalie Martin Jones made 26 saves.
On the other end of the ice, Brian Elliott made 20 saves for the Blues, which are 4-5 at home and 5-2 on the road in the playoffs. Elliott was being hailed as star for St. Louis, especially in the postseason, but anyone can have an off night. It was definitely Jones’s time to shine, as he set with his play early in the first period, making a save on a point-blank shot from Vladimir Tarasenko after the St. Louis winger made off with the puck off a Sharks defender and let one rip right at Jones. It is at times like that, where Jones’s cool-as-ice demeanor makes people who dabble in online betting on hockey forget the guy is only 26 and in his first season as a starter.
As Burns said, it’s easy not to think of Jones as a rookie. He won a cup in 2014 with the LA Kings, won a gold medal last summer with Canada at the World Championships, and has shown he can play in high-stress situations. Jones was definitely an asset last night and a reason to put your online betting on hockey money on the Sharks.