AP Sports Writer
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - After two straight trips to the Western Conference final, the San Jose Sharks now have to come to grips with their earliest playoff exit during a run of eight straight postseason trips.
The Sharks concluded an inconsistent season by losing the final four games of their first-round series against the Blues capped by a 2-1 Game 5 defeat on Saturday night in St. Louis.
The team with the second-best record in the NHL the past eight seasons is still looking for its first Stanley Cup trip because the Sharks could not match St. Louis' speed, special teams or goaltending after winning the series opener in double overtime.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)