Sharks’ bad puck luck spoils solid Game 4 from Martin Jones

ST. LOUIS – Sharks goalie Martin Jones expected an early push by the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the Western Conference final on Friday.

He got it.

But the Sharks still couldn’t stop the onslaught.

St. Louis forward Ivan Barbashev scored just 35 seconds into the contest to set the tone for the Blues, who hung on for a 2-1 win that evened the best-of-seven series at 2-2 heading back to San Jose for Game 5 on Sunday afternoon.

The Blues, still stinging from a 5-4 overtime loss in Game 3, came out with a jump from the opening whistle.
And it appeared to catch the Sharks flat-footed.

“We’ve got to be more ready at the start of the game, for sure,” Jones said. “The way the last game ended, we should have known how they were going to come out. We were maybe a little casual.”

Brent Burns was unable to clear the puck from behind the net after a crowd-pleasing hit from Alexander Steen. Instead, it went up the boards to Barbashev, who took a shot that nicked off the stick of Gustav Nyquist and into the net.

Innocent shot from the boards? Not so much.

— Bay Area Sports HQ (@BayAreaSportsHQ) May 18, 2019

The Blues scored their second goal on just their ninth shot, a power-play tally late in the first period by Tyler Bozak that bounced off the skate of Justin Braun and between Jones’ legs.

“It was a tough start obviously,” Burns said. “After that, I think we battled back.”

Jones certainly rebounded in grand fashion, stopping the final 13 shots he faced. Several of the saves were of the highlight-reel variety.

“He kept us in it,” admitted Tomas Hertl, who scored on a third-period power play to trim the deficit to one with 13:12 left in regulation.

Jones stopped Bozak on a shorthanded breakaway midway through the third period. He also stonewalled Brayden Schenn five minutes later.

In addition, Jones halted Oskar Sundqvist on a clean break in the opening period.

A mad scramble leads to the Blues’ second goal.

— Bay Area Sports HQ (@BayAreaSportsHQ) May 18, 2019

“(He’s) been dialed in for a while,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said.

Jones, who was pulled in two of the Sharks’ first four games in their opening-round series against Vegas, turned in one of his finest efforts of the postseason on Friday.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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