(The Sports Xchange) - Tomas Hertl scored twice and Martin Jones became the first Sharks goalie to record consecutive playoff shutouts as San Jose beat the St. Louis Blues 3-0 on Thursday.
By virtue of their Game 3 victory, the Sharks won a sixth straight game on home ice to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference Final series against the offensively-challenged Blues.
Jones made 22 saves on the heels of his 26 saves in St. Louis on Tuesday in Game 2.
Game 4 is on Saturday in San Jose.
Hertl scored his second of the game and fifth of the playoffs 6:09 into the final period, a goal that chased Blues starting goalie Brian Elliott.
Center Joe Thornton noticed Hertl unmarked and fired a perfect pass from the left corner along the boards to his teammate.
Hertl patiently walked out front and pushed a soft goal through the pads of Elliott, who surrendered three goals on 14 shots.
Jake Allen, St. Louis’ starter for most of the season, appeared for the first time since Game 6 in the previous round against Dallas. The Blues pulled Allen for an extra attacker with 5:43 left and didn’t put him back in until 19:15.
The Sharks scored the only goal of the second period to take a 2-0 lead into the third.
San Jose’s Joonas Donskoi created a turnover by poking a pass from Blues rookie Robby Fabbri out of the San Jose zone where teammate Logan Couture started the transition.
Couture waited for Donskoi to join the rush, creating a 3-on-2 break, hit him with a drop pass and the rookie left wing blasted his fourth goal of the postseason by Elliott at 11:44.
San Jose failed to capitalize on an early-period power play, managing one shot on goal.
But the Sharks also killed a Couture high stick of Patrik Berglund late in the period as Jones’ shutout streak stretched for more than 130 minutes by period’s end.
The Blues dominated much of the opening period until the Sharks struck with a quick transition play following a critical St. Louis turnover.
Joe Thornton picked off rookie defenseman Colton Parayko’s outlet pass and hit Joe Pavelski at center. The Sharks’ captain slid a feed to Hertl, whose slap shot from the top of the left circle beat Elliott.
Hertl’s fourth goal of the playoffs at 15:53 came on only San Jose’s fourth shot of the period. Elliott came out of his net to challenge, but was no match for Hertl’s blast.