Blues bounce back to square Stanley Cup finals with Bruins
Los Angeles (AFP)
Ryan O'Reilly scored twice, including the game winner, to lift the St. Louis Blues to a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins and level the Stanley Cup final series at two games each on Monday.
O'Reilly scored the go-ahead marker off a rebound of an Alex Pietrangelo shot halfway through the third period to break a 2-2 deadlock and snap the Bruins' playoff road winning streak at five games.
St. Louis came out blazing from the opening puck drop and never trailed, scoring twice in the third period to break open a tight-checking game four at Enterprise Center in the NHL best-of-seven series.
"Our team responds pretty well to things," said Blues coach Craig Berube. "We knew what we had to do tonight to be a better team."
Boston was hoping to take a stranglehold 3-1 series lead. Instead, they struggled to find offense and were outshot 38-23 overall. Their last loss on the road was game three of the quarter-finals against Columbus.
Russian Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn also scored while rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington stopped 21 shots for the Blues, who killed all three of their penalties after allowing four power-play goals in game three.
The Blues were blown out 7-2 in game three but they are now 7-2 in games after a loss in the playoffs.
- 'We were relentless' -
Needing a quick start, St. Louis got it. O'Reilly won a loose puck from Danton Heinen behind the net and beat Rask with a wraparound at the far post for a 1-0 Blues lead 43 seconds into the game.
"We were relentless tonight. We didn't stop for 60 minutes," Berube said.
Charlie Coyle and American Brandon Carlo, with a shorthanded tally, scored for Boston and goaltender Tuukka Rask, of Finland, stopped 34 shots for the Bruins, who lost star defenseman Zdeno Chara for a good chunk of the game after he took a puck to the face.
Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said Chara had to be stitched up and would probably need some dental work to fix the damage.
Canadian Binnington rebounded from a sub-par game three to make several key saves. He gave up sloppy rebounds which led to both Boston goals but also made some clutch saves and his defensive work did a better job of shielding him from the Boston scorers.
This was the first time in his young NHL career that Binnington had to start a game after being yanked in the previous one after he surrendered five goals in less than two periods.
Binnington is now 7-2 with a sub-2.00 goals against average in nine games following a loss.
On Monday it was Rask's turn to give up some poor rebounds that led to Blues goals by Tarasenko and O'Reilly's game winner.
"He spit some rebounds out," Cassidy said of Rask. "But I don't have an issue with his rebound control."
O'Reilly scored his fourth and fifth goals of the post-season. He is one of 19 Canadians on the Blues roster.
Game five is on Thursday in Boston.
? 2019 AFP