Three Stars: Brent Burns’s all-around play keys Sharks in Game 2
The San Jose Sharks scored just over two minutes into the game and cruised from there on Tuesday night, beating the St. Louis Blues 4–0 to tie up the Western Conference finals at 1–1.
As the series shifts to San Jose for Game 3, here’s who stood out to us in Game 2:
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
If Game 1 brought high-risk Burns, Game 2 brought high-reward. He was a force on the power play, beating Brian Elliott with a pair of blistering one-timers to put the game out of reach.
"Wow, best I've ever seen," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said of Burns' shot. "I think just how he can get it off from every angle, how he can get it to the net off balance, in bad spots. He finds a way to get it there. If it's in the right spot, it's going in. That's a great weapon for us."
While the goals will draw all the attention, Burns was equally outstanding in all three zones. His quick feet and strong positioning were key to limiting the Blues to just nine even-strength shots through the first two periods, and he moved the puck efficiently in transition, helping the Sharks set the pace and dominate possession.
Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks
Jones was outstanding, making 26 saves to earn his second shutout in three starts. He was called on early to stop Vladimir Tarasenko on a partial breakaway, a play that could have turned the game in a very different direction.
"You can see the poise in his game," said teammate Tommy Wingels. "Seems like he never has an elevated heart rate. In the practice and games, he's always there making big saves."
Jones saved his best work for the penalty kill, where he made 12 of his stops. He robbed Troy Brouwer at close range on two separate kills to preserve the Sharks’ lead and send the series back to San Jose knotted at one game apiece.
Dainius Zubrus, San Jose Sharks
The veteran has made a solid contribution in spot duty to the Sharks’ fourth line, mostly as a dependable defensive presence. Zubrus proved he still has a bit of magic left in his stick though, helping trigger the offense with a goal and an assist. He made a key play to get San Jose on the board early in the first, winning a puck battle in the offensive zone before setting up Tommy Wingels for the game-winner. He later closed out the scoring with an empty-netter. The goal was Zubrus’s first in the playoffs since 2012 with New Jersey.