SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Troy Brouwer has proven to be a good closer in the 2016 NHL playoffs.
The St. Louis Blues needed a starter Saturday night, and their right wing did that expertly as well.
Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak scored two goals apiece, powering the Blues to a 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks, evening the best-of-seven Western Conference finals at two games apiece.
Goalie Jake Allen, making his first start of the postseason, turned away 31 of San Jose's 34 shots, sending the series back to St. Louis on even terms for Game 5 on Monday.
"We came here to win a hockey game, and we did," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of the aftermath of losing the home-ice advantage by virtue of splitting the first two games in St. Louis. "Now we're taking it back to our fans."
Brouwer, the hero of Game 7 wins over Chicago and Dallas that propelled the Blues into the Western finals, ended Sharks goalie Martin Jones' two-game shutout streak with a one-timer from in front of the net just 6:14 into the game.
"Brouwer keeps showing up in big games for us," observed Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. "That's comforting."
The power-play goal, which came just seven seconds after Sharks winger Joel Ward had gotten called for delay of game, gave St. Louis a 5-1 lead.
"We got back to the way we wanted to play -- get the puck deep, make their defensemen work," said Brouwer, whose goals were his sixth and seventh of the postseason. "We did a good job of taking advantage of our opportunities."
Allen easily converted the four-goal lead into a victory from there, although he came under constant assault from a desperate Sharks team in the final period.
San Jose scored three times in the third period, first on a Joe Pavelski tip-in of a Joe Thornton shot just 1:05 in, and not too long later when Chris Tierney's shot from the right side bounced in off the back of Allen.
Tierney's goal, his fourth of the playoffs, was unassisted and got San Jose back within 5-2 with still 13:03 to play.
But Allen held on from there, despite surrendering a goal with 3:32 remaining that was credited to San Jose's Melker Karlsson but was actually pushed into the net by St. Louis defenseman Joel Edmundson.
"I was confident. I've been ready," assured Allen, who hadn't started a game in the postseason.
Karlsson's goal made the final 6-3, with the Blues having scored an empty-netter 49 seconds earlier on an Alex Pietrangelo shot that went three-quarters the length of the ice.
"He brings a lot of fire. He's a competitive son of a gun," Hitchcock said of Allen. "We played with more passion in front of him because I made the change."
Both of Brodziak's goals, his first and second of the playoffs, came in the second period, during which St. Louis went ahead 4-0.
The back-breaker for the Sharks occurred early in the second period, after they had staved off a five-on-three disadvantage while already trailing 2-0.
An interference penalty on Shattenkirk handed San Jose a golden opportunity to get back in the game. But sloppy play killed the Sharks.
The Blues not only held San Jose without a shot for the first 1:58 of the penalty kill, but also used Sharks turnovers to create a pair of two-on-one short-handed opportunities.
San Jose's Logan Couture stopped the first run when he blocked a shot by Steen, but there was no denying Brodziak on the second after he took a nifty pass from Jaden Schwartz and blasted it over Jones' right shoulder for a 3-0 lead at the 6:09 mark.
"We didn't execute," sized up Sharks coach Peter DeBoer. "We got what we deserved."
Just 3:40 after Brodziak's first goal of the playoffs, it was a blowout, with the center going upper deck again, this time over Jones' left shoulder to make it a four-goal game.
"It definitely feels good to pitch in," he said. "As a group, we weren't happy with the way the last two games went. We wanted to get pucks deep and go to work. We stuck with it and got rewarded."
Down 4-0, DeBoer pulled Jones, who had faced 19 shots. He was replaced by Reimer, who hadn't seen any action in San Jose's first 14 playoff games.
Afterward, DeBoer insisted he expected Jones -- as well as the rest of his team -- to bounce back strong in Game 5.
"We've had one or two of these games in the playoffs and we've always responded the right way," he said. "We have a real honest group. They know what they have to do."
Allen got tested early, starting with shots by Paul Martin and Pavelski in the first two minutes.
He saved both easily, then got his first serious test when Joonas Donskoi fired from point-blank range in the game's fifth minute. Again, Allen was up to the task.
A tripping penalty on Sharks defenseman Brent Burns turned the momentum of the period in the Blues' favor at the 5:00 mark.
Brouwer's first goal came 74 seconds later.
NOTES: The Blues are now 2-0 in the postseason when they've fallen behind in a series. They lost the opener of the Western semifinals to Dallas before responding with two wins. ... Despite the impressive win, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock would not commit to G Jake Allen as his Game 5 starter. ... Sharks G Martin Jones had his shutout streak ended at 153 minutes, 57 seconds. ... Backup Sharks G James Reimer faced eight shots and saved seven of them.