Not since 2002 had the St. Louis Blues
advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But on Saturday night, Ken Hitchcock's club changed all that.
Going up against a team that had reached the Western Conference Final the last two years, the Blues disposed of the San Jose Sharks
in five games with Saturday's 3-1 win at the Scottrade Center. Including the regular season, the Blues won eight of nine against the San Jose.
In those nine games, the Sharks scored a total of 11 goals.
, David Perron
and Andy McDonald
scored for the Blues, who were 6-7 when Hitchcock replaced Davis Payne
behind the bench. St. Louis also entered the season having not qualified for the postseason since 2009.
Special teams played a huge role in the series, as the Blues killed 15 of San Jose's 17 power plays. The Sharks went 0-for-2 with the man advantage Saturday night.
Anderson does it again
Goalie - OTT
GAA: 1.79 | SVP: 0.943
-- Craig Anderson
was spectacular again for the Ottawa Senators
on Saturday night.
The Ottawa Senators
goaltender made several phenomenal saves to lead his team to a 2-0 win against the top-seeded New York Rangers
in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden. Anderson, who finished with 41 saves, lowered his goals-against average to 1.79. Through the first five games of the series, Anderson is boasting a .943 save percentage.
The Rangers have scored only three goals in the past three games, including a 1-0 victory in Game 3. Anderson, meanwhile, improved to 8-1-1 lifetime at MSG.
Since the Blueshirts took a 2-0 lead in the first period of Game 4, Anderson has gone 116 minutes, 32 seconds without allowing a goal.
Theodore bounces back
-- Florida Panthers
coach Kevin Dineen
had complete faith that goaltender Jose Theodore
would respond after allowing three goals in the first 6:16 against the New Jersey in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal last Tuesday.
All Theodore did Saturday night was stop all 30 shots he faced for his second career postseason shutout as the Panthers moved within a win of the second round with a 3-0 victory at the BankAtlantic Center.
It's been 16 years since Florida has won a playoff series, but Theodore's ability to respond has the Devils on the brink of elimination when the series resumes Tuesday night at the Prudential Center.
Theodore went eight years in between postseason shutouts -- his first one came back on April 19, 2004, when the Montreal Canadiens
blanked the Boston Bruins
in a 2-0 win.
Struggling to score
Defense - BOS
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 3
SOG: 11 | +/-: 2
-- Goals have been hard to come by for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
When Dennis Seidenberg
beat Washington Capitals
goaltender Braden Holtby
at 17:21 of the second period on Saturday afternoon, it was the Boston Bruins
' first goal in 84 minutes, 9 seconds. Rich Peverley
had Boston's lone goal in the opening period of Thursday night's 2-1 loss.
The Bruins' lack of offense is a huge reason why the club is playing with its season on the line Sunday afternoon, when the series shifts back to Washington.
Make it five
-- For the first time in 61 years, a playoff series has opened with five consecutive overtime games.
The Chicago Blackhawks
and Phoenix Coyotes
reached an extra session for a fifth time Saturday night, as Nick Leddy
erased a 1-0 deficit midway through the third period before captain Jonathan Toews
won it in overtime as the Hawks staved off elimination with a 2-1 victory at Jobing.com Arena.
Saturday night marked the first time a series opened with five straight overtime games since the Montreal Canadiens
and Toronto Maple Leafs
battled in the 1951 Stanley Cup Final.
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL