Published 12:03 AM EDT Jun 13, 2019
BOSTON – It took 52 years for the St. Louis Blues to win their first Stanley Cup and the last 160 days were the most challenging and impressive part of the journey.
On Jan. 2, they were last in the NHL, 31st out of 31 teams, and today they are NHL champions.
Rookie Jordan Binnington became the first rookie goalie to win 16 playoff games in a season when he played brilliantly, particularly in the first period, to spark the Blues to a 4-1 victory against the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
At one point in the first period, the Bruins were outshooting the Blues 7-1 and the Bruins outshot the Blues 23-10 through 40 minutes and 33-20 overall. Binnington was the primary reason the Blues had a lead and the win.
Skill. Chemistry. Focus. Ambition. The Blues have shown it all since January. Coach Craig Berube took over in November, and after the first of the year, his coaching style began to have an impact with the previously underachieving Blues.
Nothing illustrated the Blues’ mental toughness more than the fact they won three games in this series in Boston.
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In Game 7, Conn Smythe Trophy winner Ryan O’Reilly scored on a deflection at 16:47 of the first period to give the Blues a 1-0 lead. It marked the fourth consecutive game in this final that he has scored. The last player to do that was Wayne Gretzky in 1985.
The goal that stung the Bruins even more came with eight seconds left in the period when Alex Pietrangelo scored to make it a two-goal game.
Brayden Schenn scored a third-period goal to eliminate the Bruins’ last flicker of hope of a comeback and Zach Sanford make it 4-0. Matt Grzelcyk scored the Bruins’ lone goal