The Sharks are going to have to do it the hard way one more time.
The Sharks missed an opportunity to take a 2-0 series lead for the third straight round, as Robert Bortuzzo’s goal at the 16:34 mark of the second period proved to be the game-winner in the St. Louis Blues’ 4-2 victory at SAP Center in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final on Monday.
Oskar Sundqvist added an insurance goal with 3:08 left in regulation time as the Blues scored four times on Sharks goalie Martin Jones on 25 shots.
Sharks center Logan Couture scored twice, his NHL-leading 12th and 13th goals of the playoffs, but the Sharks couldn’t bury any of their other chances as they finished with 25 shots on goal.
The Sharks also won the opening game of their series against the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche in the first two rounds, but lost Game 2 and home ice advantage both times.
SAN JOSE, CA – May 13: San Jose Sharks’ Marcus Sorensen (20), left, gets knocked down by St. Louis Blues’ Robert Bortuzzo (41), right, in the first period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference finals at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, May 13, 2019. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group)
Games 3 and 4 are in St. Louis on Wednesday and Friday, respectively, and the Sharks are going to have to win one game on the road in this series to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in four years. They are 2-4 on the road in the playoffs and the Blues are 3-4 at home.
With the Sharks trailing 2-0 after a goal by Jaden Schwartz at the 2:34 mark of the first period and a Vince Dunn goal at the 4:16 mark of the second period, Couture got his team right back into the game and electrified everyone at SAP Center in the process.
Couture first scored shorthanded at the 4:55 mark of the second, stealing the puck from Alex Pietrangelo at the Sharks’ blue line, then racing in on a partial breakaway before sliding a backhand shot under Jordan Binnington to cut the Blues lead to one.
Just 1:59 later, Couture took a pass on the tape in stride from Timo Meier, skated into the Blues’ zone and beat Binnington with a wrist shot for his NHL-leading 13th goal of the playoffs.
The Sharks killed all five penalties they took but also went 0-for-2 with the man advantage, including one in the third period after Robert Thomas was sent off for hooking Joe Pavelski with 9:23 left in regulation time.