Relentless! Blues Win Stanley Cup!

Jordan Binnington stops a shot from Boston’s Marcus Johansson in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. (AP photo)

They were relentless. It’s a term we’ve heard to describe this team throughout the season. The St. Louis Blues overcame everything that got in their way this year. Going from the last place in the NHL on January 3rd to the Stanley Cup Champion had never been done before, until now.

For the first time in the history of the franchise, the Blues are the Stanley Cup Champions. Can you believe it?

Here’s how the game unfolded.

FIRST PERIOD

The Bruins dominated play in the first period and outshot St. Louis 12-4. The Blues had a shot on goal 27 seconds after the puck dropped, but couldn’t manage another one until the 3:20 mark.

No shots by the Blues for over 16 1/2 minutes; meanwhile, Boston had their way with the puck, controlling the game and looking like they were about to dominate the Blues and win their 7th Stanley Cup.

The problem is, they encountered an obstacle. That obstacle was Jordan Binnington. The Blues 25-year old rookie stopped everything they threw at him, including this one.

With Binnington looking like a brick wall, the Blues offense needed to get possession of the puck. Once they did, they struck quickly.

Pushing back the other way, the Blues set up in the offensive zone. Boston nearly regained possession along the left boards, but Slammin’ Sammy Blais put a hit on Noel Acciari and took the puck away. He quickly put a shot on net that Tuukka Rask stopped. All at once, looking like they had a new chance at life, the Blues controlled the rebound and quickly got the puck back out on top.

With Ryan O’Reilly camping in front of the net, Jay Bouwmeester took a shot from the left point that O’Reilly got a stick on. The puck changed direction and found it’s way through the pads of Rask and the Blues had a 1-0 lead.

It would have been nice to sneak off the ice and take a 1-0 lead into the locker room after the way things had gone, but the Blues had other ideas.

After a long shift by both teams in the Boston end, the Blues’ Jaden Schwartz gathered the puck at center ice and chipped it to the right boards around Boston’s Brad Marchand. Schwartz stepped around Marchand, who skated towards the bench for a change.

Schwartz regained the puck and dropped it off for a hard-charging Alex Pietrangelo who had lots of ice thanks to the exit by Marchand. The Blues captain took the puck from his forehand to backhand into the slot area in front of the net and lifted a backhander over a sprawling Rask. With just 8 seconds left on the clock, the St. Louis Blues were up 2-0.

SECOND PERIOD

The second period was more of the same with the Bruins outshooting St. Louis 11-6, but as has been the case most of this series, neither team scored in the middle frame.

John Kelly, the Blues longtime TV play-by-play announcer, has been calling the second period of all the Stanley Cup Final games. It was a lovely gesture by radio man Chris Kerber to include him. Kelly hasn’t gotten many ‘goal calls,’ but most certainly doesn’t care, given the result.

THIRD PERIOD

Twenty minutes with a two-goal lead probably seems like an eternity, especially given what was at stake. I know it did for the fans. Could the Blues hang on to the lead and win the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup? A two-goal lead didn’t feel like enough knowing the firepower the Bruins possessed.

To reach the ultimate prize in hockey, the Blues would need some more help from Binnington, and to no one’s surprise, they got it with more saves like this.

With Binnington keeping the Bruins off the board on one end, the Blues decided to add a couple more on theirs. A couple of minutes after the huge save in the clip above, St. Louis struck again. This time it was Brayden Schenn scoring after a fantastic pass by Vladimir Tarasenko.

Vladi worked hard, got to the puck in the corner, and hit Schenn perfectly in the slot. Rask never had a chance as Schenn snapped the puck in the net just inside the right post.

With 8:35 left to play, the Blues led 3-0. They would add another goal four minutes later. This time it was Boston-native, Zach Sanford with the goal, assisted by David Perron and O’Reilly.

As you would expect, Boston pulled Rask and gave it everything they had. The problem was, there was no way they were going to get four goals in the final four and a half minutes. They got one from Matt Grzelcyk, but one was all they got. The final score was 4-1, and the Blues swarmed their goalie and celebrated the Stanley Cup victory.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There are lots of storylines that have been covered thoroughly in this season, these playoffs, these finals. Tonight, the storyline was Jordan Binnington and the top two lines of the St. Louis Blues. Along with Jay Bouwmeester (1A), and Alex Pietrangelo (1G,1A), the top two lines for the Blues accounted for all four goals.

O’Reilly (1G,1A) and Schwartz (2A) joined Pietrangelo with multiple points. Sanford (1G), Perron (1A), Schenn (1G), and Tarasenko (1A) completed the scoring.

Boston’s top two lines, on the other hand, weren’t able to get on the scoreboard. They were nearly invisible on the scoresheet throughout the finals, except for powerplay goals. Their powerplay was lethal, but when the Blues managed to stay out of the penalty box, Boston could not score at even-strength.

We at Blues Rants would like to thank you for following us this season. Look for lots of Blues stories in the weeks ahead as we recap the season and look forward to the next one. For now, let’s enjoy this accomplishment and celebrate the fact that Lord Stanley’s Cup is finally at home where it belongs, in St. Louis, the Heartland of Hockey.

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4 thoughts on “Relentless! Blues Win Stanley Cup!

  1. Great job Tim. I’ve enjoyed your game recaps all season and it was a pleasure following this team this season with you.

  2. Nice write-up and summary. Loved the highlights. Thanks for all you do with Rants and all those cool little voice-over video things you post on twitter. lol

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