Last night the St. Louis Blues needed to beat the San Jose Sharks to force their series to seven games. That, however, didn’t happen and the loss spelled the end of the 2015-16 season for the Blues.
While elimination is not what the team wanted and losing in the Western Conference Finals was not the main goal, they’ll come back next season having learned valuable lessons about what it takes.
The Sharks flexed their offensive muscles last night en route to a 5-2 victory over St. Louis to eliminate them from the postseason. St. Louis had two goals from Vladimir Tarasenko, who once again showed his value to the club and dominant abilities on the ice.
Goaltender Brian Elliott had 22 saves on 26 shots before the Sharks added an empty net goal with 20 seconds remaining.
Overall the effort was there. The Blues knew what was at stake and they are a skilled enough team to beat San Jose. They just didn’t and they ended the night shaking hands with the Western Conference Champion San Jose Sharks.
With every disappointment the Blues have had in the postseason over the last few years, they’ve learned something. This will be no different.
St. Louis made it to the conference finals for the first time since 2000-01 when they fell to the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. They found a way to take out two very legitimate contenders in the Chicago Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars. They were resilient throughout the postseason, but their luck ran out against the Sharks.
Regardless, making it that far in the playoffs changes players. It serves as a motivation factor moving forward because they now know how hard they worked to get there. They realize how great it feels to win and how disappointing it is to lose.
Those are things only players and teams that make it deep into the playoffs can know and the Blues can now consider themselves part of that group.
St. Louis should rest this offseason and prepare for a busy draft, the NHL Awards and the looming potential contract extensions that still need to be sorted out. For now, though, the Blues should be proud of how far they came and be excited for the future of the Note.
The focus now shifts to next season’s goal: building the best team possible so they can win a Stanley Cup.