Blues beat Bruins in seven to capture first NHL championship

Los Angeles (AFP) –


The St. Louis Blues captured their first Stanley Cup title on Wednesday by beating the Boston Bruins 4-1 and becoming the first team to win a winner-take-all game seven contest in eight years.

Rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington stopped 32 shots for the Blues, who capped a storybook season which saw them go from the worst team in the league to win their first NHL championship in their 52-year franchise history.

Captain Alex Pietrangelo and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Ryan O'Reilly each had a goal and an assist for St. Louis, who won after going 0-12 in their three previous trips to the Stanley Cup finals.

Binnington barred the door as the Bruins outshot the Blues but couldn't beat the Canadian rookie, who didn't become the team's starting goaltender until halfway through the season.

Pietrangelo and O'Reilly, who won the award as the playoff MVP, scored goals in the final four minutes of the opening period to give the Blues a 2-0 lead despite being outplayed by a fired up Bruins offence.

Boston goalie Tuukka Rask was tremendous in a game six win but allowed four goals on just 20 shots, including two goals on four shots in the first.

The 25-year-old Binnington looked like a seasoned veteran, making several clutch stops in the first off David Krejci and Marcus Johansson who got behind the St. Louis defence but couldn't beat him in close.

With the Blues ahead 2-0 in the third, he made another sensational stop on Bruins forward Joakim Nordstrom, who appeared to have him beat. The save took the life out of Boston crowd and then Brayden Schenn silenced the crowd with his only goal of the game to make it 3-0 with 8:35 remaining.