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Rapid Reaction: St. Louis Blues 2, San Jose Sharks 1

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues struck first in the Western Conference finals, hanging on to beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in Game 1.

How it happened: After a strong first period, the Blues were outplayed by the Sharks for healthy stretches the rest of the game. A strong penalty kill and goaltending helped put the Blues up 1-0 in this series.

Goalie Brian Elliott carried the Blues at times in this one, especially in the second period with the Sharks outshooting St. Louis 16-5, but it was St. Louis that got the only goal of the second. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns turned the puck over and Jori Lehtera capitalized, getting a shot past Martin Jones that Jones probably should have stopped.

The Blues also got a break in the second period when an early whistle wiped out a goal at 18:46 that Elliott ended up kicking in when the puck got under him.

It was the second goal of the game that was kept off the scoreboard, following a first-period apparent goal by the Blues' Patrik Berglund that ended up waved off because of goalie interference, the correct call in this case.

Elliott made many big saves, including multiple saves on Joe Pavelski, who had a one-timer turned away in the second and then another prime scoring chance in the final two minutes. Elliott finished with 31 saves.

What it means: After an early feeling-out process, this series appears as if it's going to be every bit as close as expected. The Blues get an early win and this will be the first time the Sharks trail early in a series in this postseason, so it’s new territory for San Jose. Not a huge concern but something to watch.

The win was important on a couple of fronts for the Blues in that they straightened out some home struggles. Before Game 1, they had dropped two of three at home. It's also a good sign for St. Louis that the Blues penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3 against the powerful Sharks power play. Sharks coach Pete DeBoer called a timeout during a crucial third period power play to keep his first unit out there and the Blues still killed it. If that success against the Sharks' power play continues, it bodes well for the Blues' chances in this series.