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Blues blank Sharks, even series
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott combined to make 29 saves and the St. Louis Blues took a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Halak left the game about a minute into the second period when he was crashed into by teammate Barret Jackman. He appeared to get his left leg bent back underneath him and tried to stay in, but was unable to and Elliott took over.
The Blues announced during the game that Halak was able to return, but head coach Ken Hitchcock opted to keep Elliott between the pipes.
"It shows the depth we have in net," Blues center T.J. Oshie said. "Both of those guys are our hardest workers. It's been consistently like that from training camp all the way until tonight. It's going to be like that the rest of the playoffs."
Halak stopped 12 shots and Elliott made 17 saves for just the third combined shutout in playoff history and help the Blues win a playoff game for the first time since April 12, 2004.
Vladimir Sobotka and David Backes each scored for the second-seeded Blues, who evened this best-of-seven series after dropping Game 1 in double-overtime on Thursday. Andy McDonald added a tip-in goal in the final minute.
Antti Niemi gave up all three goals on 32 shots for the seventh-seeded Sharks, who will look to rebound at home for the next two with Game 3 set for Monday night.
The Blues scored just 91 seconds into the game thanks to some help from San Jose. A shot from Sobotka at the top of the left circle was slowed down by Niemi and it sat in the goalcrease. Marc-Edouard Vlasic attempted to swipe it out of harm's way, but he got only a piece of it and the puck went into the net.
"It's one of those bounces that you'd like not to happen, but the reality is it did," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "You've just got to move on, but unfortunately we just couldn't score tonight."
Halak turned aside 10 shots in the first period, but just a minute into the second he left the game after the collision with Jackman.
Elliott came out and stopped eight shots in the second period after Halak made two to keep the shutout going.
"None of the job is easy, so you just have to be prepared," Elliott said. "It's not something that happens a lot but when it does you've got to be ready. Like I said, the guys kind of limited the shots in the second there for me and allowed me to kind of slide into the game."
The Blues made it a 2-0 game with 6:11 to play in the second. Oshie danced his way around a couple of defenders after getting the puck near the right boards and from the slot he sent a backhand pass over to the left where Backes one-timed it home.
St. Louis sealed the win with 25 seconds to play on the power play as Oshie took several whacks at the puck from the right side and McDonald was able to tip it in.
The Blues had lost seven straight playoff games coming into Saturday...It was the first shutout in the playoffs for the Blues since Chris Osgood blanked Vancouver on April 10, 2003...Oshie finished the game with two assists.
04/15 00:47:51 ET
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