In a do-or-die, winner take all matchup, the St. Louis Blues won their first Stanley Cup in the franchise’s 52-year history by knocking off the Boston Bruins at home by a 4-1 score.
The B’s surged early, but could not solve rookie Jordan Binnington, who became the first goalie with rookie status to win 16 playoff games by holding the fort with some stellar stops when Boston owned the play early on.
Goals by Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) Ryan O’Reilly and captain Alex Pietrangelo late in the 1st stunned the home team and the B’s never recovered.
The Blues, after scoring 2 goals on 4 shots in the first period, locked things down by collapsing their D down in front of their net and jamming Boston’s ability to generate speed through the neutral zone in the second and third periods. By shrinking the zone in the defensive end, they dared the Bruins to carry pucks through a maze of bodies and sticks to the net, and the Black and Gold couldn’t get it done.
Goals in the third period by Brayden Schenn and New Hampshire native/Pinkerton Astro Zach Sanford put the game out of reach, but the two goals in the first would have been enough. Matt Grzelcyk’s late tally from David Krejci broke the shutout, but was far too little, too late. It was great to see the Charlestown native return to action after getting taken out in Game 2 by a hit from behind courtesy of Oskar Sundqvist, but ultimately, the B’s simply didn’t get enough from their top players in this one.
There’s far more to say, and the details behind the loss are legion, but that is for another day. The Bruins are rightfully devastated after coming so close, while the Blues can look forward to the euphoria that accompanies a long-suffering franchise like the one that has resided in St. Louis since 1967. They made a remarkable worst-to-first run, capping it off with a Cinderella win against the odds. The myriad books about this season will be worth reading.
But for now- we’ll tip the cap to both teams, but only one could win- and the fact that this one got away from the Bruins is going to sting for a long, long time.