St. Louis Blues center David Backes, right, scores a goal against San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones (31) during the first period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 15, 2016, in St. Louis. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

St. Louis Blues center David Backes, right, scores a goal against San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones (31) during the first period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 15, 2016, in St. Louis. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

Elliott leads way, Blues beat Sharks 2-1 in Game 1

ST. LOUIS — Brian Elliott had another standout game in net, David Backes and Jori Lehtera had goals and the St. Louis Blues opened their first Western Conference final in 15 years with a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night.

Tomas Hertl scored on a first-period deflection for the Sharks, who outshot St. Louis 32-23 but couldn’t quite solve Elliott.

The Sharks were the best road team in the NHL in the regular season at 28-10-3, but have dropped four in a row on the road in these playoffs, including all three in the second round against Nashville. They had seven goals in three road losses to the Predators and were 0 for 5 on the power play, which had been a major plus. San Jose had been converting on 33 percent of its power plays in the postseason.

The Blues made good on their first chance with home ice advantage in the playoffs, although they’re just 4-4 at the Scottrade Center heading into Game 2 on Tuesday night.

Elliott was at his best — and got some luck — in the second period when the Blues were outshot 16-5, but got the lone goal when Lehtera scored unassisted. The goalie benefited from a quick whistle with 1:14 left when he unsuccessfully tried to smother the puck on a long dump-in by Melker Karlsson, and it slowly slid between his pads and off his stick into the net, just after play had been ruled dead.

Backes opened the scoring with a deflection and is tied with sharpshooter Vladimir Tarasenko for the team lead with seven goals in the playoffs. The team captain had 21 goals in the regular season.

Lehtera’s second of the playoffs came off an errant clearing attempt by Brent Burns for a 2-1 lead. He powered through on his shot after Chris Tierney got a piece of the stick.

Just 34 seconds elapsed between the opening goal by Backes and Hertl’s answering goal redirected a shot by Joe Pavelski with the puck bouncing past Elliott.

The Blues had just enough despite a third disallowed goal in the playoffs. Patrik Berglund’s deflection was waved off because of incidental contact with goalie Martin Jones, a call confirmed after video review.Brian ElliottNHLSan Jose SharksSt. Louis Blues

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Cities including San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley are calling for large grocery and drug store chains to pay employees hazard pay for working during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Shutterstock)
SF proposes $5 hazard pay law for grocery, drug store workers

San Francisco may soon join the growing number of cities requiring large… Continue reading

Hikers walk along a closed stretch of Twin Peaks Boulevard on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board to vote on future of Twin Peaks Boulevard

The proposal would keep Burnett Avenue gate closed to vehicles, open Portola Drive

Kindergarten teacher Jennifer Klein collects crayons from students in the classroom at Lupine Hill Elementary School on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020 in Calabasas, California. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Newsom, legislators strike deal to reopen California schools

Taryn Luna and John Myers Los Angeles Times Gov. Gavin Newsom and… Continue reading

A sign about proposed development of the bluff at Thornton State Beach in Daly City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Retreat center proposed at popular state beach

Daly City residents oppose construction on ocean bluffs

City supervisors are calling for an expansion of free summer programs for elementary age kids. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Supervisors urge city to provide free summer programs for all SFUSD students

San Francisco supervisors on Monday announced a proposal to expand summer programs… Continue reading

Most Read