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David Backes #42 of the St. Louis Blues tussles with Marc-Edouard Vlasic #44 of the San Jose Sharks during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on April 14, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s inadvertent swipe of a loose puck into his own goal was all the St. Louis Blues needed in a 3-0 win over the Sharks in Game 2 of their first round series on Saturday night at Scottrade Center.
Game 3 is in San Jose on Monday, with the series tied at a game apiece.
The Blues scored a goal in each of the three periods.
The first was gift-wrapped from Antti Niemi and Vlasic just 1:31 after the opening faceoff. A wrist shot from Vladimir Sobotka that should have been cleanly stopped by Niemi, instead trickled behind the goalie. Vlasic, who had time to clear the puck out of harm’s way, instead knocked it into his own net to give the Blues the early lead.
Sobotka was credited with his first of the playoffs, unassisted.
In the second, T.J. Oshie’s slick moves resulted in an easy conversion by David Backes. Oshie managed to evade Jason Demers and Patrick Marleau along the boards after skating into the offensive zone, and then made a nice cut to avoid a sliding Joe Pavelski in the circle. Oshie spotted Backes on the other side of the ice, and Backes easily deposited his first of the playoffs at 13:49.
The Sharks weren’t without their chances, and played an especially effective first period. San Jose’s top line applied good pressure, and its best chance came with 6:40 left when Pavelski hit the post.