(The Sports Xchange) - Brent Burns did not need to study the San Jose Sharks’ postseason history to know going down 0-2 in a series is not desirable.
Burns and goalie Martin Jones made certain that did not happen on Tuesday as he scored a pair of power-play goals and Jones stopped all 26 St. Louis shots to lead the Sharks to a 4-0 win over the Blues in Game 2 of the Western Conference final.
The shutout was the second in the playoffs for Jones, who also shut out Nashville in Game 7 in the second round.
The best-of-seven series is now tied at one win each as it heads to San Jose for Game 3 on Wednesday.
Had Burns looked into the Sharks’ history, he would have learned that 10 times they have fallen behind 0-2 in a series — and lost all 10. That list includes the franchise’s three previous trips to the conference final, in 2004, 2010 and 2011.
“We wanted to go home with a split and that’s what we got,” said defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
The Sharks scored what would turn out to be the only goal they would need just 2:07 into the game, from Tommy Wingels, before Burns scored on the power-play in both the second and third periods, his fifth and sixth goals of the playoffs.
Both goals came while the Blues’ Troy Brouwer was in the penalty box.
“Guys came out with a good sense of urgency and got after it,” said the Sharks’ Joe Pavelski. “It was a great job by everybody.”
Dainius Zubrus added an empty-net goal with just 19 seconds left in the game to close out the victory.
It was the first time the Blues were shut out at home in the playoffs since Game 2 of the conference quarterfinals in 2001, a 1-0 loss to the Sharks.
“We feel good about what we have going on,” Burns said, “and the way we’re playing. We’ve had confidence all year.”
The Sharks were 0-for-3 on the power-play in their Game 1 loss but converted two of their five chances in Game 2. The Blues had allowed only two power-play goals in 23 chances over their previous eight games, dating back to the start of the second-round series against Dallas.
“I thought we brought our good game to the rink tonight for longer periods,” said Sharks’ coach Peter DeBoer. “Getting the first goal was big, and I knew our power play would bounce back. It always has all year.”
One of the reasons is Burns’ booming shot.
“Best I’ve ever seen,” DeBoer said. “I think just how he can get it off from every angle, how he can get it to the net off balance, in bad spots. He finds a way to get it there. If it’s in the right spot, it’s going in. That’s a great weapon for us.”
The Sharks also killed off all five Blues’ power-plays.
“We didn’t play very well,” said Blues’ coach Ken Hitchcock. “I’m not sure why. I don’t know if the players know why. They (the Sharks) were much better than us in every aspect, especially special teams. We tried to play the way we did in game 1 and we didn’t get away with it.
“We’ll take 1-1 right now with the way we’ve played.”
The Blues, who had a combined 15 shots on goal through the first two periods, trailed 2-0 when the Sharks’ Patrick Marleau received a double minor penalty for high-sticking just 32 seconds into the third period.
Instead of using that chance to get back in the game, however, the Blues had just four shots on goal, all stopped by Jones, and Burns’ second goal of the game midway through the period sealed the victory.
“Our execution wasn’t very good and I thought we let frustration creep in at certain times in the game,” said the Blues’ Alexander Steen. “That can’t happen at this time of the year. They had the little details in their game tonight that we didn’t, unfortunately. We took a few penalties and that set us back a little bit.”
In all three of their playoff series’ this year the Blues have been tied 1-1 after two games.
Editing by Peter Rutherford