The St. Louis Blues have proven time and time again, they can thrive under adversity. However, giving themselves a leg up in this series was more than just winning a game.
If you are a St. Louis Blues fan, are reading this and do not know the outcome of Game 5 then I’m not sure what you’re doing with your life, but it must be amazingly busy. That said, massive spoilers ahead for you.
The St. Louis Blues won Game 5 of the Western Conference Final by an incredible score of 5-0. The San Jose Sharks never truly felt out of the game prior to losing what felt like a quarter of their lineup, but they were never in it after they hit the post just 10 seconds in.
The Sharks managed to create some good chances in the first five minutes or so, but Jordan Binnington was up to the task. San Jose threatened a little in the latter stages of the first period, but the Blues punished them more and more with every hit and every goal.
By the end of the contest, San Jose was a sports version of the walking wounded. They had five players in the locker room, four of whom were there due to injury. It was astounding to see shots of their bench and how much room was there due to all the players gone.
Despite all that – the fantastic win, the way the Blues dominated, the injuries racked up by the Sharks – this series is not over. This Blues team has persevered through some amazing things, but we forget that, as much as we might loathe this Sharks team, they have been through the wars too.
Many of these current players were there when they beat the Blues in 2016. Many of them have gone through the same heartbreak that Blues fans have felt year after year.
That does not mean we need to shed any tears for them. That simply means they are not going to go away without a fight. Game 6 in St. Louis might be the most difficult one this franchise has had to play in decades, if not ever.
That is why Game 5 was so important. The Blues have given themselves the value of odds.
Nobody outside of San Jose or NBC wants this series to go a seventh game. Boston wants to know who they are playing and Blues fans want it over so they can start talking about the next step instead of tiptoeing around it as though we were living in the Potterverse and the final was Voldemort, aka he who shall not be named.
However, the Blues have now given themselves two chances at a series ender. If they had lost, they would have still had two potential games left, but you have to win one just to force a clincher. Now, they have two cracks at a clinch.
Additionally, they needed to overcome the odd-numbered game run the Sharks had. A stat shared by one of our readers, Greg Bazan said the Sharks were 9-1 with a plus-15 goal differential in odd numbered games.
The Blues went and tossed that out the window, not only winning the game but shutting out San Jose. St. Louis also gave themselves the opportunity to take advantage of another streak.
Another stat to go along with the first is San Jose being 1-7 with a minus-10 goal difference in even numbered games. Nothing is assured and the Blues have to play as hard or harder in Game 6 to win, but I will take that kind of stat combined with a battered opponent any day.
As fans, we can sit here and ponder the what-if’s all day long. We can lament the idea that the Blues could have finished off this series already if they had just held on at the end of Game 3 or had the hand pass been called. Who knows what might have been.
What we do know is the Blues can now end this and move on at home, which they have managed to do in every series so far. They gave themselves that opportunity by going on the road and dominating in Game 5.
There was always going to be a Game 6 the way this series has gone. Because the Blues won Game 5, they can now end it all with one more win.