Originally written on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 11/9/14

TheSt. Louis Blues were one of the NHL’s best this season due to a simple formula:good goaltending, sound defense and timely offense.  They executed that formula to a ‘T’ as they quicklydeposited San Jose in five games to claim their first playoff series win since2002.

Somewondered (including yours truly) how the Blues, with one playoff appearancesince the lockout – would handle the pressure of being a heavy favorite in theplayoffs.  They handled it quite wellafter a Game 1 overtime loss to the Sharks.
Down1-0 in the series, they successfully sucked the life out of the Sharks (reminiscentof their season series in which the Blues swept Todd McLellan’s club andoutscored them 11-3.)  In fourconsecutive wins to close out the series, the Blues gave up a total of fivegoals to the Sharks – three of which were in garbage time.
The defensive success is a testament of Ken Hitchcock’s system that makes itlook as if opponents are playing shorthanded while at even strength.  That system has lent a helping hand to makingthe goaltenders look unbeatable, and Brian Elliott was just that after fillingfor a felled Jaroslav Halak in Game 2.
Elliott,who was signed to a two-way contract last off-season, led the NHL ingoals-against average (1.56) in the regular season.  His great story has carried over into theplayoffs with a stellar performance in the first round, turning away 93 of the98 shots he faced in four-plus games.
Anothergreat story is Andy McDonald, who provided oodles of timely offense for theBlues in round one.  He picked up a pointin each game, including a four-point effort in a Game 3 win.  His veteran presence really came through onthe power play, as he was in on all six Blues goals against a measly Sharkspenalty kill.
Whyis McDonald a great story?  Over last twoseasons he has missed 75 games due to a concussion.  He has shown no ill effects of the injury,picking up 20 points in 22 regular season games after his return and thenleading the Blues with eight points in this series.  McDonald has a Stanley Cup on his resume(2007 Anaheim Ducks) and his experience will be invaluable for the Blues as theplayoffs move forward.  So will hisproduction.
TheseBlues proved to the rest of the league that they mean serious business.  Though the Sharks were underachievers allyear, they still boast a talented roster that was capable of pulling theupset.  Yet, they never truly threatened Hitchcock’sclub.
St.Louis was dominant following the Game 1 loss – and impressively dominant in thevaunted Shark Tank – by reverting to their winning ways from the regularseason.  The power play stepped up, theirsavvy veterans were clutch, and the back end was as sound as can be.
Ifthe Blues keep this up, they’ll be tough to beat in their pursuit of a StanleyCup.
Photo credit: Getty Images
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Robert Griffin III benched by Redskins for McCoy

Dice-K Matsuzaka headed back to Japan

Lovie Smith: 2-9 Bucs are still in playoff contention

UCLA QB Brett Hundley likely to enter NFL draft

Bills will return to Ralph Wilson Stadium for Sunday's game

Miller to Oregon transfer rumor originates on Reddit

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Valencia FC ditches bat logo amidst DC Comics challenge

Paul Pierce: Celtics' Big Three was like 'Holy Trinity'

Cubs reportedly offer Jon Lester more than $135 million

Colin Kaepernick: Jim Harbaugh will be back in 2015

Jeremy Maclin not happy with Riley Cooper’s contract remark

Broncos reportedly waive kicker McManus, sign Connor Barth

Derrick Rose leaves game with hamstring tightness

WATCH: Ty Lawson drops Kirk Hinrich to the floor

Alabama DL trolls Auburn with Instagram photo

Rockies pitcher takes shot at former Astros pitcher

WATCH: Paul Pierce signs autograph during game

Jeremy Hill asks great question about alma mater LSU

NBA rookie rankings after 1st month of 2014-15 season

Statistic about Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler very revealing

Aaron Rodgers blasts those who accused him of trolling Vikings

The century's 10 most one-sided college football rivalries

WATCH: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of NBA's first month

Sherman mocks NFL media policies in press conference

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

10 most one-sided college football rivalries

Pierce: C's Big Three like 'Holy Trinity'

Maclin unhappy with Cooper comments

Post-Week 13 CFB Playoff projection

What has Masai Ujiri built in Toronto?

How L.A. should replace Hanley

Lester, Red Sox still talking contract

Why each NFL team should be thankful

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.