The St. Louis Blues came out firing, but it was the San Jose Sharks who put the heat on their opponents in Game 5 on Monday. After a 6-3 win, the Sharks hold the series edge with the Blues facing a must-win Game 6 on Wednesday.
Here’s who stood out to us on Monday:
Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
What a night for Captain America, who continues to prove that few can do quite what he does. Pavelski scored a pair of timely goals to pace San Jose's 6-3 win over the Blues Monday night, including the tying and go-ahead markers. On the first, he got a good piece of a rolling puck and beat Blues goalie Jake Allen high glove for the goal that Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said was "the killer." He then gave San Jose the lead for good with an uncanny tip of a Brent Burns point blast. He now owns the lead in the postseason goal-scoring race with 12. He also added an assist on Marc-Edouard Vlasic's first-period tally to end the night with 21 points, tied with teammate Logan Couture atop the leaderboard.
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
This? Aw, this was just Joe bein' Joe. Thornton asserted his will on this game, picking apart St. Louis's defense with a spectacular display of his passing prowess. He collected three apples on the night, none prettier than on Pavelski's power play goal that tied the game up at three late in the second. Thornton took a slick dish from Couture behind the net and walked out to the front where he froze Allen before finding Pavelski all alone in the slot. Let's just go ahead and pencil him in for a spot on Team Canada, shall we?
Troy Brouwer, St. Louis Blues
If the season comes to a premature end for the Blues, it won't be for a lack of effort from Brouwer. The former Cap has been everything they've asked him to be and then some in this series. He's a reliable physical presence (four more hits Monday night), a relentless backchecker and a timely scorer. His second period goal in Game 5 was one for the highlight reels, a marvel of hand-eye coordination. It also was his eighth of the spring in 19 games. Prior to this season, Brouwer had scored just seven goals in 78 career playoff games.