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Blues grab commanding series lead
San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Brian Elliott posted 24 saves as St. Louis grabbed a commanding lead with a 2-1 win over San Jose in Game 4 of this Western Conference quarterfinal series.
The Blues, who hold a 3-1 lead in the matchup and are looking for their first postseason series victory since 2002, will have their first chance to close out this series Saturday night at home.
Andy McDonald and B.J. Crombeen each scored a goal while Patrik Berglund and David Perron posted two assists apiece for the Blues.
"We recognize how close these games are and how hard the next one is going to be to win," Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We're going to have to obviously play our best, but I think we're dealing with the pressure that goes with winning and closing a team out."
Antti Niemi gave up both goals on 24 shots for the Sharks, who have advanced to the conference finals the past two seasons, but will need to rally if they want to avoid getting knocked out in the first round for the first time since 2009. Joe Thornton scored late to keep it from being a shutout.
The first goal of the game came 7:12 into the first when Berglund skated behind the net and came out the right side before centering it for Crombeen, who snapped a wrister into the net for his first of the playoffs.
The second period passed scoreless as each goaltender made nine saves, but the Blues grabbed a cushion goal in the third.
Skating on the power play as Patrick Marleau was in the box for interference, a shot from Perron at the left circle was stopped, but it popped into the air and after Berglund got his stick on it, McDonald got his stick on it for his third of the series with eight minutes to play.
The goal proved fortunate as the Sharks made it a one-goal game with 1:07 to play. Logan Couture had the puck in the right corner boards and sent it to the slot where Thornton wristed it in.
That was it though, as the Blues kept the Sharks from getting any pressure the rest of the game to grab the win.
"They're doing a good job of blocking the shots when they can and forcing us to shoot wide. That's just good defense and that's what they do. They pride themselves on that," Sharks head coach Todd McLelllan said about St. Louis.
San Jose went 0-for-4 on the power play while St. Louis was 1-for-3...It was Thornton's 19th career playoff goal...St. Louis' last series victory came against Chicago.
04/20 03:36:03 ET
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