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Elliott, Backes boost Blues; Jo Paw-velski adopted

NHL news and notes

by @NHL /

Brian Elliott made 32 saves, including five in the final three minutes, and Jori Lehtera scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period to help the St. Louis Blues win the opening game of the Western Conference Final.

* Elliott, who led the NHL in save percentage (.930) and was tied for second in goals-against average (2.07) during the regular season, is 9-6 in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs (2.20 GAA, .932 SV%, 1 SO).

* Elliott is 4-0 with a 1.29 GAA and .954 save percentage in five career postseason appearances against the San Jose Sharks. In the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals, Elliott entered Game 2 in relief of Jaroslav Halak (W) to earn a combined shutout before winning the next three games to help the Blues eliminate the Sharks in five games.

* Lehtera, who has 2-7-9 in 20 career NHL playoff games, scored his only other postseason goal exactly one minute into the Blues' Game 7 victory in the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Video: SJS@STL, Gm1: Lehtera picks off pass, lights the lamp

* The Blues hold a 1-0 series lead against the Sharks for the third time in five all-time playoff meetings (also 2000 and 2001 CQF). Overall, teams that win Game 1 in the conference final have an all-time series record of 67-29 (.698).

Elliott made seven of his saves against Sharks captain Joe Pavelski -- who shares the League lead with nine goals this postseason -- including point-blank stops in the second and third periods. The two players, who are meeting in the playoffs for a second time (also 2012 CQF), won an NCAA championship together with the University of Wisconsin in 2006 (photo courtesy of @BadgerMHockey).

Tweet from @BadgerMHockey: So... this series between San Jose and St. Louis will be interesting.May the best Badger win. #OnWisconsin
Blues captain David Backes scored the opening goal and led all players with 11 hits, three shy of the Sharks' team total (STL: 28, SJS: 14) and the most by a player in one game in the 2016 playoffs. He ranks second in the League with 68 hits this postseason (15 GP) and shares the Blues lead with 7-6-13, matching his point total from his first 29 career NHL playoff games (5-8-13).

* Sharks forward Joe Thornton needed help finding the puck after it got lost in his gear.

* Jo Paw-velski was adopted Friday after becoming the unofficial good luck charm of the Sharks during the second round.

All Times Eastern
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Pittsburgh Penguins, 8:00 p.m., TBL leads 1-0, NBCSN, CBC, TVAS

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