Blues aim to reduce mistakes in Game 2 against Sharks
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As well as the San Jose Sharks performed in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, the St. Louis Blues were at the other end of the pendulum.
Porous defensive plays, lack of cohesiveness and -- most noticeable -- a litany of turnovers by the Blues all factored into the Sharks' 6-3 victory in Saturday night's clash.
Rest assured, while the Sharks are confident heading into Game 2 of the best-of-seven series Monday in San Jose, Calif., the Blues intend to be better.
Much, much better.
"It's over. Just throw it out. There's nothing you can do about it," Blues forward Patrick Maroon said after Sunday's practice. "You're gonna have bad games, teams are gonna play good. It was costly turnovers they capitalized on. We've found ways to fix our game and elevate our game."
Not that he would have needed an in-depth video session to find what hurt his team most, but after reflecting on the series-opening loss, Blues coach Craig Berube had no trouble pinpointing why St. Louis was outclassed in the opener.
"It was all self-inflicted," Berube said. "They do a good job, that team, they hound pucks and are tight on you, but it was self-inflicted on our part, turning pucks over at bad times."
Turnovers caused by a wicked combination of bad decisions and too little puck support.
"They're a good team. There're a hard forechecking team, surround the puck with numbers. If you don't have numbers in there, you're gonna turn the puck over," Berube said. "We didn't have the puck enough and when we did have it, we gave it back to them too easily."
What remains to be seen is whether the Blues can elevate their game enough to compete with the Sharks, who look to be in full attack mode these days. San Jose, which has won seven of nine home games in this year's Stanley Cup chase, is clicking on all cylinders.
Their forward lines are all contributing, having a healthy Marc-Edouard Vlasic allows Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns to provide an offensive attack from the defensemen, and goalie Martin Jones has been excellent after some early struggles to start the playoffs.
"It was big we got the Game 1 win," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said in the aftermath of the win. "We'll expect them to be a little bit better and we've got to be invested in doing things the right way. You need complete games in the playoffs right now and (Saturday) was a good step in the right direction."
Curiously, the Sharks have won their series opener all three times now -- by a combined count of 16-7 -- but lost Game 2 in both their previous series.
"We'd like to go up 2-0. We know they're going to be ready, come out with a good push and their legs are going to be better," Pavelski said. "It's a lesson for us. We've got to invest early, stay with it and try to hold onto that home-ice advantage."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 12, 2019