Gunnarsson winner sinks Boston as Blues tie series

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Carl Gunnarsson smashed home an overtime winner as the St. Louis Blues roared back into Stanley Cup final contention on Wednesday with a series-levelling 3-2 defeat over the Boston Bruins.

Gunnarsson's stunning long-range effort flew past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask after 3min 51sec of overtime to silence the home crowd at Boston's TD Garden and tie the best-of-seven series at 1-1.

Swedish defenseman Gunnarsson's decisive strike had settled an absorbing contest which saw the Blues twice claw their way back to level after falling behind as the Bruins looked to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.

Boston went in front in the first period, scoring on a power play through forward Charlie Coyle after a Sammy Blais penalty.

Good work from David Pastrnak released Jake DeBrusk down the left and the Canadian winger pulled back into the slot to find a wide open Coyle.

The 27-year-old forward made no mistake with the finish, rifling home to beat Blues goalie Jordan Binnington.

St. Louis responded superbly and quieted the raucous home fans five minutes later through Robert Bortuzzo.

Bortuzzo appeared to be covered as he drifted to the right of the Boston goal, but his whipped shot from a tight angle took a wicked deflection off Matt Grzelcyk to beat Rask at the near post.

Boston were back in front in less than a minute however, when Swedish international center Joakim Nordstrom gathered from Sean Kuraly to finish from close range.

Again though, the Blues responded strongly, and tied the game with just over five minutes left in the period through Vladimir Tarasenko, when a positional error from Bruins forward Brad Marchand allowed Tarasenko to burst out of defense.

Tarasenko picked out Jaden Schwartz who bore down on goal, and although his shot was blocked, Russian ace Tarasenko was on hand to bundle in the rebound at the second attempt.

Game three in the series takes place in St. Louis on Saturday.