It took extra frames to get the job done, but the St. Louis Blues have eliminated the Dallas Stars with a 2-1 Game Seven victory Tuesday and will advance to the Western Conference Final.
Vince Dunn opened the scoring 13 and a half minutes into the first period and Dallas’ Mats Zuccarello followed up with the tying goal just over two minutes later. And then the goaltenders took over, with Jordan Binnington and Ben Bishop holding it down for the second period, third period and entire first overtime frame.
The Blues outshot the Stars by a final tally of 54-30, plus they played a more physical game and managed to stay out of the penalty box. They also led in takeaways and had Dallas on their heels through much of the game, leaving Bishop to hang in there.
In the end, Patrick Maroon popped the winning goal into the net nearly six minutes into the second overtime frame. It was, as he described it after the game, the “biggest goal of his career.” It was his third of the playoffs.
Bishop, in the end, made 52 saves and stood on his head to keep the puck out of the net. It’s hard, if not impossible, to fault the Dallas netminder for his performance in Game Seven and indeed throughout the series.
This despite being injured in Game Six. Bishop was plonked by a Colton Parayko shot in that contest, which led to an iffy goal by the Blues. The starter was bounced from the game half a minute later and Anton Khudobin played in relief. Bishop was set for Game Seven, however.
In the end it was Binnington, with his calm demeanour, took the series and the subsequent goaltending duel in the end.
The Blues outscored the Stars 18-17 in the series, showing just how close things were down the line.
St. Louis will await the winner of Wednesday’s Game Seven confrontation between the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks.
(Photo credit: Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)