Martin Jones made 22 saves in his second straight shutout and Tomas Hertl scored twice to give the Sharks a series lead for the first time in four trips to the Western Conference final with a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 on Thursday night.
Joonas Donskoi also scored to give the Sharks a 2-1 series advantage and move them as close as they have ever been to reaching their first Stanley Cup final. San Jose had won just three games in its first three trips to the conference final, part of a long history of playoff disappointment that is showing signs of coming to an end this season.
San Jose has controlled the play for much of this series, limiting St. Louis' chances and taking advantage of miscues by the Blues to generate enough offense. St. Louis has gone 150:45 without scoring since Jori Lehtera's second-period goal in Game 1 led to a 2-1 victory.
Brian Elliott allowed three goals on 14 shots before being pulled midway through the third. Coach Ken Hitchcock said he could give backup Jake Allen the start in Game 4, but St. Louis' problems are much bigger than their goalie.
The Blues now find themselves trailing a series for just the second time this postseason. Overcoming this deficit may be tougher than coming back last round after losing the opener to Dallas.
Game 4 is Saturday in San Jose, where the Sharks have won six straight playoff games.