Gloria, we have ourselves a series.
Ryan O’Reilly and the St. Louis Blues defeated the Boston Bruins in Game Four of their Stanley Cup Final series Monday night, polishing off the visitors 4-2.
O’Reilly had two goals and the Blues improved to 7-2 after losing in these playoffs, which is a pretty remarkable statement in and of itself. St. Louis knows how to bounce back when it matters most, which could mean we’ll be seeing a series that goes the distance.
Of course, the Bruins looked to have this one in the bag after a dominant Game Three performance that saw them take the win by a final score of 7-2.
St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington looked downright bad in that outing, but by Game Four he was back to basics and true to form.
The Bruins charged up for 23 shots on goal but the 25-year-old from Richmond Hill was mostly equal to the task. That’s because of his tendency to bring it after a heavy loss. He’s allowed five or more goals four times in the playoffs, but he’s only been pulled once and almost always rebounds. In games following those five-plus goal blowouts, Binnington is .946 with a 1.67 goals against average.
Of course, he had help.
St. Louis was a lot better in many regards. They were two-for-two on the penalty kill, which means they sorted out a few things and didn’t take as many trips to the box.
Not only that, they punished the Bruins for mistakes. The game-winner came just after a Blues penalty kill and saw Alex Pietrangelo take advantage of a slow line change, popping a shot off Tuukka Rask that left a juicy rebound for O’Reilly.
“With the way it developed, we knew we were going to have something to the net with [Pietrangelo] coming down there,” O’Reilly said. “I’m just trying to do what I can to get to that backside and it just was a great bounce. It happens sometimes and then you just try to throw it on the net.”
Boston not only took the loss on the scoreboard, they took a loss on the ice with captain Zdeno Chara leaving the game in the second period after getting hit with a shot. The defenceman was on the bench for the third, but doctors advised him not to play. The Bruins aren’t sure if he’ll be ready for Game Five.
For the Blues, this was a must-win situation and they pulled it off. They struck where necessary and pulled themselves out of a jam, but they certainly can’t rest on their proverbial laurels. The Bruins can ostensibly still strike at will and they looked dangerous for long stretches Monday.
As the series swings back to Boston Thursday night, you can bet the Bears will be in no mood to lose at home.
(Photo credit: Getty Images)