ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Blues are marching into the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in decades.
David Perron had a goal and an assist, Jordan Binnington picked up his franchise-record 12th playoff win and the Blues beat the San Jose Sharks 5-1 in Game 6 of the Western Conference final Tuesday night.
Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn and Tyler Bozak also scored for St. Louis, which will face the Boston Bruins for the championship. Ivan Barbashev got an empty-netter with 2:15 left, Ryan O’Reilly had three assists and Binnington stopped 25 shots.
St. Louis won three consecutive games to advance to the franchise’s first Cup Final since 1970. That series also pitted the Blues against the Bruins.
Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” blared over the speakers at the Blues’ home arena after the latest victory on an improbable run from last in the NHL Jan. 3 to one of the last two teams standing. The turnaround came after Craig Berube replaced Mike Yeo as coach in November and Binnington took over as the starting goaltender in January.
San Jose played without injured forwards Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl and defenceman Erik Karlsson. Injury attrition played a role for the Sharks, who played seven games in each of the first two rounds.
Dylan Gambrell scored for San Jose, which lost for the first time in five elimination games this post-season. Martin Jones made 14 stops.
St. Louis grabbed control with a fast start.
Perron tipped in Sammy Blais’ shot just 92 seconds into the game. Tarasenko made it 2-0 with a well-placed wrist shot at 16:16.
Tarasenko got his eighth goal of the post-season just seven seconds after San Jose forward Barclay Goodrow was sent off for tripping. Tarasenko recorded a point in each game of the series.
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Steve Overbey, The Associated Press