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game recap

Sharks defeat Blues in Game 5, lead series 3-2

Pavelski scores twice; San Jose one win away from Stanley Cup Final

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The San Jose Sharks are on the cusp of their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, and their captain was front and center Monday to put them in that position.

Joe Pavelski scored twice, including the go-ahead goal 16 seconds into the third period, to help the Sharks to a 6-3 win against the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final at Scottrade Center.

San Jose has a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 6 will be played Wednesday at SAP Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Pavelski, who has a six-game point streak (four goals, five assists), tipped a right point shot from Brent Burns to break a 3-3 tie. Pavelski won a faceoff after Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester iced the puck six seconds into the third. Pavelski leads the NHL with 12 goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Video: SJS@STL, Gm5: Pavelski ties game, nets GWG in Gm5

"He practices for years (the tips)," Sharks center Joe Thornton said of Pavelski. "Results happen like that all the time. You work so hard at practice and it's beautiful to watch."

Joel Ward scored twice, Thornton had three assists and Marc-Edouard Vlasic had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who have never reached the Stanley Cup Final. Chris Tierney had an empty-net goal and Martin Jones made 18 saves. 

"I think we're reminding ourselves we're not there yet," said Sharks coach Peter DeBoer, who took the New Jersey Devils to the 2012 final. "There's a lot of heavy lifting left. We know the team on the other side there. They're not going away. We've been close before and let teams off the mat.

"It's a great opportunity for us, but there's a lot of work left to do before we can start thinking about that."

Video: SJS@STL, Gm5: Ward cleans up rebound out of midair

Jaden Schwartz, Troy Brouwer and Robby Fabbri scored for St. Louis. Jake Allen made 21 saves, but coach Ken HItchcock, who called Allen's play "fine," did not commit to him for Game 6.

"I thought he was fine," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I don't know, those are decisions we make in a day or so. But I thought he was fine today. He stopped some point-blank shots, especially early, three times early. 

"I don't know. That's stuff we'll talk about [Tuesday]."

It's the fourth straight year the Blues, who fell to 4-6 at home in the playoffs, have lost a game at home in Game 5 of a series that was tied 2-2.

"I said we're a little cuter at home than we are on the road," Blues captain David Backes said. "We've just got to stay simple and stay on the page and get a task done. I don't know if that's a trend in Game 5s; I don't keep track of that."

Video: SJS@STL, Gm5: Fabbri cranks power-play goal for lead

The Blues entered Monday uncertain whether Backes and Fabbri, each injured in Game 4, would be available, but they were able to play.

The Blues had the early pressure, but the Sharks grabbed a 1-0 lead after winning a faceoff in the Blues zone, and Vlasic's first goal of the postseason, a shot from the left point got past a screened Allen 3:51 into the game. 

St. Louis responded fairly quickly when Schwartz scored his first in 14 games on a rebound. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk took the initial shot that Jones saved, then Patrik Berglund threw the puck into the slot, it caromed off David Backes and Schwartz was there to collect the loose puck at 7:04 to tie the game. 

Brouwer's baseball-style goal, his eighth in 19 playoff games with the Blues after having seven in his first 78 playoff games, came off a rebound of a Paul Stastny shot at 15:08 of the first to give St. Louis a 2-1 lead. 

Video: SJS@STL, Gm5: Brouwer swats home goal for the lead

The Sharks got their power play going in the second period, and Ward tied it at 4:37 after Vlasic's initial shot from the left circle hit the near post, caromed off Allen's back in the crease and Ward batted the puck in. 

Fabbri put the Blues ahead 3-2 when his slap shot from the point beat a screened Jones near side at 11:58 of the period, but Pavelski tied it with the Sharks' second power-play goal in as many opportunities when he converted from the slot with 1:27 remaining in the second.

"Yeah, I think odds are he's going to pass, especially in that situation," Pavelski said of Thornton. "Plus, he gets it behind the goal line. You're just trying to work to get open. First look, (you're) going to see who is open. He does a good job. If you're not open, he doesn't make a careless play. He got it there, got a little fortunate with the rolling puck, see it kind of change angles a little bit, find its way in."

Video: SJS@STL, Gm5: Vlasic opens the scoring from the point

Tierney scored an empty-net goal with 53.9 seconds remaining and Ward scored another one with 31.6 seconds left to give the Sharks their franchise-best fifth road victory of the playoffs.

"There's so many emotions throughout the playoffs," Pavelski said. "You just try to not get too high, not get too low. If we play a game like we did the other night, you just try to respond. If you play a good game like tonight, you want to ride that, you want to stay with that.

"It's about throwing our game out there each night and the game that we like and feel like that's best suited for us and when we do that we give ourselves a good opportunity to win and get some chances and we believe we can be tough to play against. It's a four-line attack for us and everyone's played a key role in it so far and it's going to have to continue."

Video: Pavelski scores twice as Sharks take 3-2 series lead

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