Sharks stifle the Blues, take series lead with Game 3 victory

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Following a 4-0 loss in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final, St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock opined that his team was fortunate this series was tied at a game apiece.

It will be interesting, to say the least, to hear his assessment of his team after a 3-0 Game 3 loss in San Jose, which has given the Sharks a 2-1 lead in this series and put them two wins away from an appearance in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Brian Elliott was pulled in the third period, after allowing three goals on 14 shots. Tomas Hertl scored twice for San Jose, his second of the night chasing Elliott from the crease and essentially dashing any hopes the Blues may have had of a third-period comeback.

Hitchcock again pulled the goalie — this time Jake Allen — for the extra attacker with 5:31 remaining in the final period, desperate for a goal. Scoring has become a problem for the Blues in this round.

His team hasn’t scored since the 9:15 mark of the second period of Game 1 — that’s 150:45 without a goal — and it wasn’t as if the Blues really threatened San Jose goalie Martin Jones on Thursday.

Jones stopped all 22 shots he faced for his second consecutive shutout.

The Sharks played a stifling game and were opportunistic, taking advantage of St. Louis turnovers.

Game 4 is Saturday. The Sharks can take a stranglehold of the series.