2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, Blues Vs. Sharks: St. Louis Takes Series 4-1

The Blues made the San Jose Sharks the second team to be eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win tonight at Scottrade.

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St. Louis Blues Vs. Sharks: Alex Pietrangelo Pops Logan Couture (GIF)

There's a certain zen fluidity to this GIF of young St. Louis Blues star Alex Pietrangelo popping the San Jose Sharks' Logan Couture after the buzzer following the Blues' 4-3 Game 3 win Monday night—he just keeps flowing from the top of the frame back to the bottom, like a barber pole bent on getting in one last shot on a hockey player, which might not be my best metaphor ever. Have a look:

I could watch it all day. Which is not to say I haven't been watching it all day already. There's something in the matter-of-factness about it, too; it looks like he was just on his way to pick up some groceries when he saw he could complete two errands at once by also getting this last hit in.

Oh—okay, sorry, I got distracted for a minute. Just kind of watching it, and all. If someone could only loop it so that he walks all the way off screen, and the back again... Yeah, I don't—yeah, you can just let yourself out. I'm going to hang out in front of this a little while long.

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2012 NHL Playoffs, Blues Vs. Sharks Game 2 Final Score: Blues Get Shutout, Ties Series 1-1

The chippiness of the game didn’t calm down any as the third period chugged onward. T.J. Galliardi has the dubious honor of beginning the gladiatorial melee with this board on Andy McDonald:

The penalty was questionable, as the hit would have looked fine on a taller player (and McDonald shouldn’t’ve been looking downward), but two for boarding was the call.

As physical as the period was, especially on the Blues’ part, the Sharks controlled the shot total 9-6, but the Blues controlled the game. On a 5-on-3 thanks to a double roughing to Dan Boyle, Andy McDonald scored on the third rebound on Niemi.

That is, of course, when all hell broke loose. Lost in the fighting is the fact that this was the Blues’ first playoff win in eight years, but there’s not enough celebrating going on thanks to the after the horn messiness.

Personally, I’ve always been of the belief that you make your point on the scoresheet, not in the penalty column. The solid defense is what won the game for the Blues and tied the series 1-1. That, and improved offense, is what the Blues need to focus on.

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St. Louis Blues Bench Broken Vs. Sharks, Causing Delay; Stanley Cup Playoffs Simply Too Intense

The St. Louis Blues had just taken a 1-0 lead in Game 2 of their playoffs matchup with the San Jose Sharks when the unthinkable happened—well, maybe not the unthinkable so much as the why-would-you-thinkable. Their bench broke, causing a delay while the old one was carried away and the new one installed. Bernie Miklasz: Incredulous.

Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy: Successfully deploying a joke:

And that's really all there is to say about this bizarre footnote: It happened, and it's bizarre, and there are some good jokes on Twitter, if you're willing to leave "Blues bench" open on Twitter until it forms an ersatz Jay Leno monologue.

Now, presumably, with the furniture question settled, we can get back to the hockey-based portion of our evening's entertainment. Follow along here on our St. Louis Blues playoffs storystream with editor Laura Astorian and head on over to St. Louis Game Time for live talk with your fellow Blues fans.

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2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, Blues Vs. Sharks: Sharks Take Game One In Double OT

After a full overtime period, you can’t fault anyone for being tired. Unfortunately, after tonight’s 3-2 two overtime loss, the Blues have a bit to stay awake over. Converting when you have momentum’d be a good place to start. The Blues peppered Antti Niemi with 14 shots the first OT and controlled the pace of the play throughout most of that period.

The Blues could win in shots (and they did, 42-34), but that’s not what wins you games. Unfortunately Niemi was absolutely in the zone tonight, thriving on the work. By the time that the Blues made it to their second OT, they were absolutely pooped, and Martin Havlat’s second goal of the night found its way past a slowed Jaroslav Halak for the win.

No one expected the Blues to sweep in the first round, and losing one game isn’t the end of the world. There was a lot of good to take away from that, especially the fact that the Sharks could have the pace of the game dictated to them. If Niemi is off his game on Saturday night, the Blues could exploit him. If he’s not, well, look for another two OT game. Thank goodness it’s on a Saturday.

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