The Blues have never said die all season, and for the first time since 2002, they managed to carry that through to a playoff series victory. The last time the Blues won in the playoffs were the 2002 quarterfinals, where Pavol Demitra led the team to a 4-1 series victory against the Chicago Blackhawks. Tonight? It was Andy McDonald, Jamie Langenbrunner, and David Perron doing the damage.
It doesn't matter that the game was flat through the first period and a half. It doesn't matter that Joe Thornton's shot found the back of the net at 19:19 of the second period. Sure, that would have deflated momentum for most teams, but the Blues came out and plugged on -- and that's what makes them tenacious and special. The work ethic that they showed all season was something unheard of last year, or even at the beginning of this season. The young Blues team might've said "eh, we'll get them in game six." This Blues team used being down by a goal as fuel for some of the most emotion-filled hockey they've played in eons. Jamie Langenbrunner's crash the net goal to tie the game? Created by Scott Nichol and Vladimir Sobotka; crashing the net with abandon, those three plowed through the Sharks defense. Langenbrunner looked ten years younger after the goal with the smile he had on his face.
How appropriate was it that David Perron's tip-in of Alex Pietrangelo's point shot ended the Sharks' season? Just last year, Perron was felled by an unintentional hit by Sharks' captain Joe Thornton. Perron's made a huge comeback this season, and this was gravy.
Speaking of comebacks, Andy McDonald's has been outstanding. His empty-netter was the fourth goal that he's scored in five games. Coupled with Patrik Berglund, the two forwards have had a post-season renaissance that should continue into round two.
Round two's match-up is increasingly looking like it will be against the L.A. Kings. When the second round matchup is released, please check back to SB Nation St. Louis for second round previews galore. Until then, bask in the glow of a playoff series win - one more step towards the ultimate goal.
As David Backes said, "We're not done yet."
For all news and information regarding the St. Louis Blues, visit the Blues blog St. Louis Game Time. For updates and perspective on the San Jose Sharks, head on over to Fear the Fin. For complete coverage of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NHL news hub.