Sharks draw first blood against Blues in Western Conference finals

San José (United States) (AFP) –


Timo Meier scored two unanswered goals in the second period as the San Jose Sharks routed the mistake-prone St. Louis Blues 6-3 in the opening game of their NHL Western Conference final series on Saturday.

Switzerland's Meier also added an assist to go with his pair of goals which helped get the Sharks off to a roaring start in the best-of-seven series which will see the winner advance to the Stanley Cup finals.

San Jose dominated from the opening whistle, leading 2-1 at the end of the first and 5-2 at the end of the second. The bumbling Blues were their own worst enemy in game one taking bad penalties, giving up odd-man rushes and causing turnovers that led directly to San Jose goals.

Logan Couture also scored twice for the Sharks, with one into an empty net, and Joe Pavelski and Kevin Labanc added singles, while goaltender Martin Jones made 28 saves.

Ryan O'Reilly, Joel Edmundson and Tyler Bozak scored for the Blues, while Jordan Binnington stopped 19 shots.

Game two is Monday night in San Jose as the Sharks are trying to use their home ice advantage in the series to reach just the second Stanley Cup final in franchise history.

The Blues last reached the championship round in 1970 -- which is remembered for Bobby Orr's high-flying overtime winning goal.

Meier didn't fly through the air like Orr, but he did score one of the prettiest goals of the postseason halfway through the contest to make it 4-2.

Meier danced around a flat-footed Blues defenceman Jay Bouwmeester and then made Binnington look silly by faking one way then reaching back with one hand on his stick and slipping the puck into an open side.

He scored again seven minutes later with his fifth goal of the playoffs to put the game out of reach.

Several of the Sharks' goals came off miscues by the Blues players as Colton Parayko was skating out of his own zone when he lost the puck on Meier's first goal and another turnover led to Labanc's goal. Bouwmeester took an interference penalty on Pavelski halfway through the first and Pavelski made the Blues pay by scoring on the powerplay to make it 2-1.