Blues strike back with 2-1 win over Sharks, level NHL playoff series

Colton Parayko and Jordan Binnington of the St. Louis Blues celebrate after beating the San Jose Sharks 2-1 to level the NHL Western Conference finals at two games apiece (AFP Photo/ELSA)

Los Angeles (AFP) - The St. Louis Blues, buoyed by 29 saves from goalie Jordan Binnington, held on for a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks Friday to level the NHL Western Conference finals at two games apiece.

Ivan Barbashev and Tyler Bozak scored first-period goals for St. Louis and the Blues withstood a second-period onslaught to bounce back from a disheartening overtime loss on Wednesday.

The Sharks will try to regain the advantage in the best-of-seven series when it shifts back to San Jose for game five on Sunday.

The winner of the series will take on the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals. The Bruins swept the Hurricanes in four games in the Eastern Conference finals.

Binnington posted his 10th win in the playoffs to set a Blues record for most wins in one post-season -- passing Brian Elliott (2016) and Roman Turek (2001).

"That's a great honor obviously," Binnington said. "I'm having a lot of fun back here playing with this team. They're doing a great job.

"They limited their chances tonight. We played a complete game. I just tried to do my job."

Tomas Hertl scored, and Martin Jones made 20 saves for the Sharks.

"We had some good chances and we can get a little better," San Jose captain Joe Pavelski said. "If we can get him (Binnington) moving a little bit, some of our opportunities (might go in).

"But he played well, gave up one goal and we gave up two. What are you going to do about it?"

Barbashev's first playoff goal gave the Blues a 1-0 lead just 35 seconds into the contest.

His shot from the left deflected in after St. Louis forward Alexander Steen forced San Jose defenseman Brent Burns into a turnover.

Bozak made it 2-0 on the power play with 2:07 remaining in the period when Sharks defenseman Justin Braun kicked a loose puck between Jones' legs.

"Gave up two quick ones but we battled, we had our chances," Pavelski said.

The Sharks controlled the puck for long stretches of the second period, out-shooting the Blues 11-8.

Hertl scored a power-play goal on a rebound to make it 2-1 at 6:48 of the third period after Binnington made the save on Burns' one-timer from the left point.