Blues Get Monkey Off Back With First Ever Stanley Cup Final Win

Blues-Get-Monkey-Off-Back-With-First-Ever-Stanley-Cup-Final-Win

It took 18,858 days since their NHL debut, but the St. Louis Blues finally broke their Stanley Cup Final egg with a 3-2 overtime win in Boston in game two of their series. It wasn’t a must-win game at this stage as the victory ties the set at a game apiece but it probably couldn’t have come at a better time. The win halts the streaking Bruins dead in their tracks after eight straight playoff victories and that’s just what the doctor ordered for the Blues.

Of course the win was historical for the St. Louis franchise as it was the first in their history after losing 13 straight contests in a Stanley Cup Final.

The roles were reversed in game two as the Blues outshot the hosts 37-23 after the Bruins had a 38-20 advantage in game one, which they won 4-2. The Blues opened the scoring in the first encounter but couldn’t hold it while it was the Bruins turn to do so this time.

Charlie Coyle opened the scoring at the 4:44 mark of the first period. It was Boston’s first shot on net and his seventh of the playoffs and another power-play marker for Boston, their 19th of the postseason. They’ve also scored at least once on the power-play in their last six games. The Blues managed to pull level five minutes later when Robert Bortuzzo notched his second of the playoffs with defenseman Carl Gunnarsson earning an assist for his first postseason point this year.

The Bruins were back in front just 40 seconds later though courtesy of Joakim Nordstrom‘s third of the playoffs at the 10:17 mark. But by 14:55 Vladimir Tarasenko had equalized for the Blues once again with his 10th tally of the postseason.

St. Louis took the only two penalties of the period with the second one coming to Oskar Sundqvist for boarding blue liner Matt Grzelcyk at the 17:57 mark. This was arguably a game-changer as Sundqvist crunched the Bruin from behind, ramming his head into the glass. In many fans’ eyes this should have been a major and game misconduct, but Sundqvist was handed just two minutes. Grzelcyk wouldn’t return to the game and this placed a heavy workload on the remaining five Boston defenders.

The NHL will hold a hearing on the hit and there’s a chance Sundqvist will be suspended for at least one game, but that’s still to be decided at 4 pm EST May 30th. Grzelcyk won’t play in game three due to a concussion protocol and will likely be replaced by either John Moore or Steven Kampfer.

Both teams created enough chances to win the game in regulation time but Tuukka Rask and Jordan Binnington stood tall in the Boston and St. Louis nets respectively. The visitors outshot Boston 14-6 in the second frame and the teams had nine shots each in the third. St. Louis had a four-minute power-play to work with when Connor Clifton was sent off for high sticking Tyler Bozak. In the second period, but Jaden Schwartz was nailed for goaltender interference on Rask just over two minutes later to negate the man advantage.

Boston took six minutes in penalties in the middle frame while the Blues took four. The only penalty of the third came with 6:38 to go when Brayden Schenn went off for slashing but the Blues killed it comfortably to guarantee the game went to overtime.

When the extra session started the Blues came out like a team possessed and owned the overtime session. They hemmed the Bruins in their own end and Gunnarsson ended the game at the 3:51 mark when his shot from the point, the Blues’ fourth straight in the overtime, handcuffed Rask. It was his first career playoff goal and fifth point in 57 postseason outings and came after he hit the post with a slap shot with 1:57 left in regulation time. The Blues had six players on the ice when Gunnarsson won it as Binnington headed to the bench on a delayed penalty call to Boston.

Binnington has now gone 6-2 in the playoffs with a save percentage of 93.5 and 1.84 GAA after suffering a loss. If he can win three more games in this series, which means a Stanley Cup, Binnington will set a new league record for 16 wins by a rookie in the playoffs. Tarasenko has scored a goal in four straight games and a point in eight consecutive. His hot streak consists of five goals and five assists and is one contest back of the Blues’ franchise playoff record of nine which was set in 1980/81 by Tony Currie (four goals, 12 assists). Schwartz has 13 points in 11 road games on seven goals and six assists which leaves him two points behind Doug Gilmour’s club record of nine goals and six helpers for 15 points on the road in a playoff year.

There’s speculation that Bruins’ center Patrice Bergeron is suffering from an injury and that’s why he didn’t take many of his teammates important faceoffs in game two. He’s won just 38 per cent of draws in this series while he’s at 59.14 for this postseason this year. Bruins’ head coach Bruce Cassidy broke up his top line of Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak several times in the first two games as they haven’t been effective. The trio has combined for only a pair of power-play points in the series and Pastrnak may soon be playing with David Krejci while Danton Heinen is moved up with Marchand and Bergeron..

St. Louis played with desperation, urgency and an effective, aggressive forecheck to win the game and they now have home-ice advantage in the series which has become a best-of-five. However, they have played better on the road in the postseason at 8-3 than they have at the Enterprise Center where they’re 5-5.