The St. Louis Blues have won the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history, defeating the Boston Bruins by a final score of 4-1 in Game Seven Wednesday.
The Blues continued to further their reputation as the comeback kids, following an ugly 5-1 loss in Game Six with victory when it mattered, and they again proved their status as road warriors.
The Bruins were smothering early in the final contest of the season despite some bad ice at home, but Blues goalie Jordan Binnington held his team in it. The Blues went over 16 minutes without a shot on Boston goalie Tuukka Rask, but it was Ryan O’Reilly who opened the scoring by catching a piece of a Jay Bouwmeester shot in the first period. It was O’Reilly’s fifth goal in his last four games.
The first goal was against the run of the play and stunned the Bruins and the home fans.
But it was a bad line change by Boston and Brad Marchand that led to the second goal for the Blues, with Alex Pietrangelo scoring with just eight seconds to go in the first.
The second period saw St. Louis smother the Bruins, clog up the passing lanes and block shots with aplomb. They seemed to pick up their offence periodically, but had just managed 10 shots on goal through two frames. The defensive brand of hockey was paying off, as Boston just couldn’t get anything going and Binnington was well-positioned to make every necessary save.
The Bruins started the third period with more efforts to enter the Blues’ zone, but they were thwarted by a muggy combination of back pressure and shot-blocking – especially from a hungry O’Reilly.
And St. Louis, content to clear the defensive zone and limit chances, began to seal the deal. They gathered a few more shots on Rask, who was equal to Vladimir Tarasenko on an early third period opportunity.
Boston tried everything and more than doubled St. Louis in scoring chances, but Binnington was committing high robbery time after time – especially on a major chance by Joakim Nordstrom.
Brayden Schenn had a late goal from an immaculate Tarasenko pass, while Zach Sanford made it 4-0 St. Louis with his first career playoff goal.
With Rask pulled, Boston got on the board thanks to a goal by Matt Grzelcyk.
The Stanley Cup victory is the final chapter in what has been a storybook season for the Blues, who found themselves dead last in the NHL in January and rose to the occasion to win hockey’s ultimate prize.
(Photo credit: Associated Press Photos/Charles Krupa)