Jordan Binnington was outstanding Wednesday night to lead his team to their first ever Stanley Cup championship following a 4-1 win in Boston in Game 7. Binnington had 32 saves on 33 shots. The Blues had the worst record in the NHL just days into January, and now the only thing they are known for is being the 2018-19 Champions. In their 4th try at the Stanley Cup, the 4th is the magic number. The Blues continued their fantastic play on the road throughout the playoffs, in which they left the home crowd absolutely stunned. On the road, they finished 10-3 in the playoffs.
Ryan O’Reilly won the Conn Smythe trophy after a 6 game point streak in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Every chance the Bruins had, Binnington was there for a response. O’Reilly, who has been the Bruins sore thumb this series, scored yet again in the 1st period 16 minutes in, to open the scoring. His goal was assisted by Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo. Pietrangelo didn’t wait much longer as he scored just 3 minutes later assisted by Jaden Schwartz.
The 2nd period was scoreless even though the Bruins pounded Binnington with shots. Braden Schenn broke the scoreless streak in the 3rd period 11 minutes in when Vladimir Tarasenko set up Schenn perfectly in front of the net for his 5th goal of the playoffs. The Blues were not done yet as they scored yet again when Zach Sanford, New England native, scored a dagger with 4:35 to go in the game. That was Sanford’s first career playoff goal.
The Bruins did eventually get on the scoreboard with 2:10 to go in the game when Matt Grzelcyk finally got one passed Binnington. The Bruins had an empty net at the time.
The Bruins had 33 shots but only one of them found the back of the net. Tuukka Rask finished with 16 saves on 20 shots for one of his worst games of the playoffs.
For the Bruins, Marcus Johansson, Charlie McAvoy, Danton Heinen, Brandon Carlo, and Noel Acciari are some notable free agents this offseason. Acciari and Johansson are unrestricted. They will look to bounce back next season when they return a majority of their team and a fully confident Rask. Big Zdeno Chara is signed for another season, so with his leadership to go along with the skillset of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron should lead the Bruins right back to the playoffs next year. The Bruins first line was pretty much mute for the series.
For the Blues, they have 20 free agents for this offseason including Binnington who I am sure will be re-signed immediately. But for now, it is time to celebrate in St. Louis as they have finally beaten a Boston team in a championship and shut down the Boston faithful.
Head coach Craig Berube, was signed as the interim head coach earlier in the year. He eventually brought in Binnington as the starter, and used leadership from Tarasenko and Pietrangelo to lead the Blues to an 11-game win streak. This sparked the Blues fantastic run as one of the most electric in NHL history.
Pietrangelo became the first defensive captain to win the Stanley Cup since Chara in 2011. His Blues and St. Louis deserve every second of this title. Until next year hockey fans.