Hertl, Jones star as Sharks down Blues


Hertl, Jones star as Sharks down Blues

SAN FRANCISCO – A two-goal display from Czech star Tomas Hertl and a second consecutive shutout from goalie Martin Jones proved the difference as the San Jose Sharks defeated the St.Louis Blues 3-0.

Tomas Hertl (C) of the San Jose Sharks scores against Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blues in game three of the Western Conference Finals

San Jose’s victory at the SAP Center gave the Californian team a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference final series as they prepare for Game Four on Saturday.

Just as he had done in Game Two, Jones produced another goaltending masterclass against a blunted Blues offense.

Jones finished with 22 saves, two days after making 26 stops in the Sharks win in Game Two on Tuesday.

Hertl, 22, wrapped up a deserved victory for the Sharks with his second goal of the game — and fifth of the postseason — after six minutes of the final period.

Center Joe Thornton was the architect, spotting an unmarked Hertl and threading through a perfect pass along the boards.

Hertl coolly walked out front before tucking away his finish between the pads of Blues goaltender Brian Elliott.

Elliott had another night to forget, leaking three goals from 14 shots.

The Sharks had taken a two-goal lead in the second period when Joonas Donskoi forced a turnover, allowing Logan Couture to launch the coutner-attack.

Couture then coolly waited for Finland’s Donskoi to arrive, before feeding the rookie wing with a drop pass. Donskoi duly picked his spot and blasted his fourth postseason goal past the struggling Elliott.

San Jose had earlier made a slow start in the first period before taking the lead with an opportunistic strike.

Another St. Louis turnover set the Sharks on their way, with Joe Thornton connecting with Joe Pavelski at center.

The Sharks’ captain released Hertl, who rifled home the slap shot from the top of the left circle to beat Elliott.

Hertl’s goal came on only San Jose’s fourth shot of the period. Although Elliott advanced from his net to challenge, the Blues goalie was comfortably beaten.

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