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Tarasenko vs. Pavelski, Game 6

Sharks captain scores 3:57 into first period, helping San Jose advance to Stanley Cup Final for first time

by Amalie Benjamin @amaliebenjamin / Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- The San Jose Sharks advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history by defeating the St. Louis Blues 5-2 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final at SAP Center on Wednesday.

San Jose, which entered the NHL in 1991, won the best-of-7 series 4-2 and will play the Pittsburgh Penguins or Tampa Bay Lightning in the Final, beginning Monday.

Here is a look inside the in-game and in-series matchup between Vladimir Tarasenko of the Blues and Joe Pavelski of the Sharks:

Goals: Tarasenko 2; Pavelski 1

Assists: Tarasenko 0, Pavelski 0

Points: Tarasenko 2; Pavelski 1

Ice time: Tarasenko 19:03; Pavelski 18:04

Video: STL@SJS, Gm6: Pavelski jams in puck, opens scoring

Key intangible stat: It was almost unimaginable that Tarasenko would not score in the Western Conference Final after scoring 40 goals during the regular season and seven in the first two rounds of the playoffs. But he didn't make a mark against San Jose until St. Louis was down 4-0 in Game 6, when he got his first goal of the series at 11:39 of the third period. Until that point, Tarasenko had been nearly invisible against the Sharks. He scored again with 3:35 left to give the Blues a very slight glimmer of hope, but the late goals were his only points in the series.

Best moment: The pass sailed between Blues defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester on its way to San Jose's Joe Thornton, who went in alone on goaltender Brian Elliott less than four minutes into the first period. But Thornton fired wide left on the breakaway, seemingly signaling a missed chance for the Sharks. Instead, Pavelski collected the puck behind the net, came out and slipped it under Elliott's left skate at 3:57 to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. It was the League-leading 13th goal of the playoffs for Pavelski, and it started the Sharks on their way to their series-clinching win.

Series stat line (goals-assists-points): Tarasenko 2-0-2; Pavelski 4-5-9

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