A pair of seven-game series wins might have taken a toll on the St. Louis Blues.
St. Louis who will have to settle for its first appearance in the Western Conference final since 2001.
The Blues had trouble putting away the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the first round after taking a 3-1 series lead. They missed a chance to close out the second round at home in Game 6 against the Dallas Stars.
And home ice never really was an advantage for a team that last made the finals in 1970 and has never won a Cup.
"I think if you’re going to look at one aspect, it’s our inability to close off those first two series and get the rest that San Jose got by closing off L.A. so early," coach Ken Hitchcock said after the 5-2 Game 6 loss Wednesday night in San Jose sent the Blues packing. "Ended up really hurting us in this series."
Hitchcock twice changed goalies in an effort to rouse his team, and it worked once in a resurgent Game 4 victory. Otherwise, the Blues never mustered enough offense, twice getting shut out.
They totaled 13 goals against the Sharks, six in their high water mark Game 4 victory.
"We’re not taking anything away from that team," captain David Backes said. "But when we play our game the way that we can play it, for the full game, it gives anybody fits."
They rarely found that level, perhaps because of the fatigue factor. They were 4-6 at the Scottrade Center despite a string of vociferous standing-room crowds.
"It didn’t ruin things," forward Troy Brouwer said. "We fought real hard during the regular season to try and get home-ice advantage; it turned out we were better on the road."