Blues Stun Bruins 4-1 on Road in Game 7 to Win Franchise’s 1st Stanley Cup Title
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 12:  Jordan Binnington #50 of the St. Louis Blues stops a shot against Marcus Johansson #90 of the Boston Bruins during the first period in Game Seven of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 12, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The St. Louis Blues are NHL champions for the first time in their 51-season history courtesy of a 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday at TD Garden.

NHL @NHL

There’s just no containing that first-time #StanleyCup Champions feeling for the @stlouisblues! https://t.co/1jwlNOOHNv

Jordan Binnington made 32 saves for the Blues, who earned the three-goal win despite the Bruins outshooting them 33-20. Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist, giving himself 23 postseason points en route to winning the Conn Smythe Trophy:

NHL @NHL

His 23 points are the most ever in one @StLouisBlues postseason.

Ryan O’Reilly is your Conn Smythe Trophy winner! #StanleyCup https://t.co/2YfFJTa8FA

O’Reilly and Alex Pietrangelo scored first-period goals to give St. Louis an early 2-0 lead. After a scoreless second, Brayden Schenn and Zach Sanford added insurance tallies in the third.

Matt Grzelcyk scored an empty-net goal for the Bruins with 2:10 remaining, spoiling Binnington’s shutout chance after 32 consecutive saves.

Pietrangelo, who was on the ice for all four goals, added an assist. Jaden Schwartz led the Blues with two of his own.

The first period set the tone for the rest of the game.

Anyone watching the opening frame through 16 minutes could not have seen the Blues leading 2-0 into intermission. If anything, the Bruins may have been up by a couple of scores, having outshot St. Louis 12-4 during the period.

Alison Lukan of The Athletic posted a chart that explains just how dominant Boston was for the vast majority of the opening 20 minutes:

Alison @AlisonL

I mean, seriously…. https://t.co/WEVCXwb3HR

The Point did as well, noting that the Bruins had three times as many shots, two times as many slot shots and more than twice the offensive-zone possession time:

The Point @ThePointHockey

Boston was buzzing all period, but it’s the Blues who exit the first with a 2-0 lead even if the Bruins had more slot shots than St. Louis had shots on net. They can thank Jordan Binnington for that. #STLBlues #WeAllBleedBlue #NHLBruins #StanleyCup https://t.co/QFDwlagyGv

However, Binnington formed a brick wall in front of numerous high-quality chances:

St. Louis Blues 🏆 @StLouisBlues

Binnington again!!!! #stlblues #WeAllBleedBlue https://t.co/ogPI3VzDLz

St. Louis Blues 🏆 @StLouisBlues

The Jordan Binnington highlight reel continues. #stlblues #WeAllBleedBlue https://t.co/xi0ujdKY0Q

St. Louis Blues 🏆 @StLouisBlues

BINNINGTON!!!!! #stlblues #WeAllBleedBlue https://t.co/PEBEQZpFo0

The goalie made three saves on the Bruins’ lone power play, which was the only one either team had on the night. 

It seemed as though Boston was destined to break through, but the excellent opening didn’t translate into goals. Eventually, St. Louis made the B’s pay.

With three-and-a-half minutes left in the first, a Sammy Blais hit kept the puck in the Bruins’ defensive zone. The Blues worked it around to Jay Bouwmeester, who found O’Reilly for a nifty deflection and the game’s first goal at 16:47:

St. Louis Blues @StLouisBlues

HUGE HIT BY BLAIS!!!! BIGGER GOAL BY O’REILLY!!!! #stlblues #WeAllBleedBlue https://t.co/U6rNorBs2n

The score took the air out of TD Garden and simultaneously stunted any momentum the B’s amassed. 

The goal also had historical significance:

Chris Johnston @reporterchris

Ryan O’Reilly is the first player to score in four straight Stanley Cup Final games since Wayne Gretzky in 1985.

NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL

Ryan O’Reilly is the third player in NHL history to score his team’s opening goal in four straight games during a #StanleyCup Final.

The others:
Sid Smith in 1951 (Games 1-4)
Norm Ullman in 1966 (Games 3-6)

#NHLStats #Game7 https://t.co/JL1aY22ibg

StatsCentre @StatsCentre

Ryan O’Reilly’s 1-0 tally tonight made him the 1st player to score 5 goals in a #StanleyCup Final since 2011 (Brad Marchand). Including O’Reilly, the last 7 players to achieve that had never played in a SCF before

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Ryan O’Reilly becomes the third player in NHL history – and first in 53 years – to score his team’s opening goal in four consecutive games during a Stanley Cup Final.

O’Reilly’s goal gives him 22 points this postseason, the most points in a single postseason in Blues history. https://t.co/oN1XWEZ133

The Blues would have certainly signed up for a 1-0 lead after the Bruins outplayed them for the majority of the period, but an untimely Boston line change from Brad Marchand led to a Pietrangelo goal with eight seconds left:

St. Louis Blues @StLouisBlues

WHAT. A. MOVE!!!!!! #stlblues #WeAllBleedBlue https://t.co/G6DqltYLaJ

Schwartz set up the goal with some nifty puck-handling and the timely pass, but Greg Wyshynski of ESPN.com set the scene regarding the line change:

Greg Wyshynski @wyshynski

Marchand was trying to change when the puck came out of the zone, got caught up, and then suddenly the Blues had numbers down low on Rask. #Game7

Greg Wyshynski @wyshynski

On that second goal, you can see the Bruins getting caught on that change back at the bench, skating back into the zone like three planes lined up to land. Great forecheck by Schwartz. Better pinch by Pietrangelo. #Game7 https://t.co/NPXlTYk4UU

Critics did not take kindly to it after the Blues earned their 2-0 lead:

Adam Herman @AdamZHerman

Marchand changing while the Blues were in transition and there were 10 seconds left in the period is one of worst decisions I’ve ever seen.

Scott McLaughlin @smclaughlin9

Inexcusable mistake from Marchand. 10 seconds left in the period. You didn’t need to change that badly.

Fluto Shinzawa @FlutoShinzawa

Just a lousy decision by Brad Marchand. Could have at least slowed down Alex Pietrangelo had he stayed on the ice.

The final tally after the first period: St. Louis 2 (on four shots), Boston 0 (on 12 shots).

Schenn nearly made it 3-0 midway through the second, but goalie Tuukka Rask and Zdeno Chara somehow kept the puck out of the net after it initially hit the crossbar:

#StanleyCup Game 7 on NBC @NHLonNBCSports

Take it away, Doc. 👀🔊 https://t.co/km35Vh39eH

During that period, Boston only had nine shots on goal and zero minutes on the power play, which was crucial considering that the Bruins entered the night having converted on 32.9 percent of their postseason power-play attempts.

The third period featured a much more frenetic pace than the first two periods, but the difference there was that the Blues were able to keep pace with the Bruins’ chances.

Eventually, St. Louis broke through thanks to a Schenn goal at 11:25, effectively sealing the victory:

#StanleyCup Game 7 on NBC @NHLonNBCSports

Schenn You Believe It?!

The @StLouisBlues are up 3-0 in the final period of the season. https://t.co/xhjgQgXAW5

Sanford added yet another goal with just 4:48 remaining:

St. Louis Blues @StLouisBlues

SANFORD!!!!! 4-0!!!!!!! #stlblues #weallbleedblue https://t.co/PQDC2ACIdA

All four Blues goals occurred in the slot or right in front of the net: They may not have shot more than Boston, but their high-quality chances proved to be the difference.

Grzelcyk erased the zero with 2:10 left, but the damage had been done on a night where almost nothing went Boston’s way.

Marisa Ingemi of the Boston Herald noted three key points that did not happen:

Marisa Ingemi @Marisa_Ingemi

Said it on the video hit before the game, and still believe it; Bruins need one of three things to happen – first line breaks out, Tuukka steals it, special teams dominate.

It’s been the opposite of all three.

Instead, the B’s failed to find their rhythm:

Marisa Ingemi @Marisa_Ingemi

This is the weirdest game I can remember the Bruins playing all season. Nothing is in sync.

St. Louis, which earned a Stanley Cup berth in each of its first three years of existence, hadn’t made the championship round since the 1969-70 season, when Hall of Fame defenseman Bobby Orr and the Bruins swept St. Louis in four games.

The circumstances were much different this season, as no team held more than a one-game lead during the Stanley Cup Final.

In the end, the Blues won their third Stanley Cup road game in four tries, cementing the franchise’s first title.

The Blues’ first Cup is all the more impressive considering the team was 15-18-4 on Jan. 2, which gave St. Louis the league’s lowest point total at that juncture.

Richard Deitsch @richarddeitsch

https://t.co/XGAmDIgplN

Five days later, Caesars Palace listed St. Louis as a massive 250-1 underdog to win the Cup:

B/R Betting @br_betting

Stanley Cup champions 🏆 https://t.co/7nOwcsZ0mJ

However, St. Louis finished the season 30-10-5 thanks largely to new goaltender Binnington, whose 1.89 GAA was a league-best mark. The midseason call-up went 24-5-1 in 30 regular-season starts and started every postseason contest.

The Blues rode that heat wave into the playoffs, where they outlasted the Winnipeg Jets, Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks before taking down the Bruins, who tied for the NHL’s second-best regular-season point total.

Along the way, St. Louis won 10 of 13 road games during a postseason where it had home-ice advantage only once.

The Blues will now celebrate at home, as they gave their city its first NHL champion.

Read More

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here