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Couture, Ward key Sharks' win, trip to Cup Final

NHL news and notes

by NHL.com @NHL / NHL.com

SHARKS REACH STANLEY CUP FINAL FOR FIRST TIME IN FRANCHISE HISTORY

Logan Couture (1-2-3) and Joel Ward (2-0-2) combined for three of the San Jose Sharks' five goals to help the Sharks beat the St. Louis Blues 5-2 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time.

* The Sharks are the first team to advance to the Stanley Cup Final after missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs the previous season since the 2011-12 New Jersey Devils. Both achieved the feat under a coach in his first season with the club: Peter DeBoer.

* Couture had his third three-point game of the 2016 playoffs, all of which have come in series-clinching wins (also Game 5 of FR at LAK: 0-3-3 and Game 7 of SR vs. NSH: 1-2-3). He leads the League with 16 assists and 24 points this postseason (8-16-24), extending his Sharks records for a playoff year.

* Couture became the third NHL player with three or more points in three series-clinching wins within a single postseason, joining Jari Kurri (1985) and Wayne Gretzky (1985, 1988 and 1993), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

* Ward scored two goals, including his fourth career game-winning goal in the postseason. It's the first time in his NHL career he's had consecutive multigoal games (regular season and playoffs). Prior to Game 5 and 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Final, Ward had one other multigoal game in his previous 69 career playoff games (also Game 5 of 2011 CSF at VAN: 2-1-3 w/ NSH).

Video: STL@SJS, Gm6: Ward beats Elliott off Couture's dish

* Martin Jones made 24 saves to improve to 12-6 with a 2.12 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and three shutouts in the playoffs. At SAP Center in San Jose, he's 7-2 with a 1.75 GAA, .936 save percentage and two shutouts.

* The Sharks will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Final between the Penguins and Lightning, who play Game 7 of their series at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final will be Monday; the Sharks would begin the Final on the road if it plays the Penguins or at home if it plays the Lightning.

WEDNESDAY'S RESULT

Home Team in Caps

SAN JOSE 5, St. Louis 2 - SJS wins 4-2

MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS

* San Jose forward Joe Thornton (0-1-1) had his 100th career playoff point as a member of the Sharks (21-79-100). He also extended his assist/point streak to four games (0-7-7).

PENGUINS, LIGHTNING VIE FOR STANLEY CUP FINAL BERTH IN GAME 7

Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday will be the fifth Game 7 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This marks the second straight year that the Eastern Conference Final will require a seventh and deciding game. The Lightning defeated the New York Rangers 2-0 to reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2015. The Penguins and Lightning will contest a Game 7 for the second time in as many playoff meetings. In the seventh game of the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Dwayne Roloson made 36 saves and Sean Bergenheim scored in the Lightning's 1-0 victory at the Penguins.

LOOSE PUCKS

A California-based club advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in the past five years (also Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014) and fourth time in the past 10 seasons (also Anaheim Ducks in 2007). … Sharks forward Joe Pavelski (1-0-1) led the Western Conference Final in scoring with 4-5-9 and leads the League with 13 goals in the playoffs. He also extended his single-postseason Sharks record, and extended his point streak to seven games (5-5-10). … Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko (2-0-2) has 19 goals in 33 career playoff games (19-7-26). … The Florida Panthers traded defenseman Erik Gudbranson and a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft to the Vancouver Canucks for forward Jared McCann and two draft picks. … ICYMI: The NHL announced the schedule of dates for the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, which will begin May 30. … Actor Richard Dean Anderson and Metallica front man James Hetfield were in attendance at SAP Center.

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