Stanley Cup Buzzer: Blues’ big stars beat Bruins
- The controversial no-call on Tyler Bozak justifably draws a lot of attention, but Game 5 was about more than that. And, however the Bruins feel about that polarizing moment, the bottom line is that the Blues now have the Bruins on the brink of elimination. Boston dominated many aspects of Thursday’s game, but they couldn’t find a way to win, leaving St. Louis one victory away from its first-ever Stanley Cup victory.
Criticisms of officiating will steal the headlines, yet Jordan Binnington stole Game 5 for the Blues. Boston’s power play sputtered to an 0-for-3 success rate, and 39-21 shots on goal advantage wasn’t enough for the Bruins to win on Thursday. The often-dominant Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak haven’t been able to produce, and Pastrnak hasn’t always been with those two veterans lately, in part because of that sputtering production. Whether the Bruins get more whistles or not, they need better play to avoid falling painfully short against Binnington and the Blues.
[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
1. Jordan Binnington
While the Blues were able to slow down the Bruins’ chances on the rush aside from a hot first period, St. Louis otherwise relied on Binnington to stand tall once again. And, as usual, Binnington delivered; it was almost as if he was hypnotized into believing that he was coming off of a loss.
Binnington stopped 38 out of 39 of the Bruins’ shots on goal, and allowed the Blues to “turtle” a bit in Game 5. Consider the odd periods of this one, as Boston generated SOG edges of 17-8 in the first and 14-7 in the third (along with 8-6 in the second), but only Jake DeBrusk could score against Binnington.
At the risk of sounds like a broken record, Binnington just seems downright unflappable for the Blues.
2. Ryan O’Reilly
If Binnington isn’t the hottest player in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, then that title goes to Ryan O’Reilly.
ROR generated the first goal of Game 5, and then set up David Perron for that controversial game-winner, giving him two points for the second consecutive game. Overall, O’Reilly is now on a four-game point streak with three goals and three assists for six points during that span.
You might expect the Selke-worthy center to show up nicely in other categories, and O’Reilly did just that in Game 5. ROR went 19-9 on faceoffs, had a +2 rating, three SOG, and even blocked three shots on Thursday.
3. Alex Pietrangelo
Consider Pietrangelo and the Blues’ defense as the third star, really. In particular, Jay Bouwmeester also deserves credit for logging a ton of minutes while keeping his head above water, which is shocking for an aging veteran who found himself (understandably) healthy-scratched at times this season. Colton Parayko also deserves a lot of credit.
But Pietrangelo gets the slight edge if you can only choose one defenseman.
The 29-year-old grabbed an assist (though Zach Sanford’s pass was the highlight, and primary assist) in Game 5. Pietrangelo also had a +2 rating, three SOG, one hit, and two blocked shot in 27:55 TOI.
Generally speaking, the Blues’ top players are delivering in a big way, and Pietrangelo shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle.
- Binnington’s 38 saves ties for the second-most by a rookie goalie in a Stanley Cup Final. The most is 40 saves, shared by Rogie Vachon (1967) and Ron Hextall (1987). Binnington’s 15 playoff wins ties him for the most for any rookie goalie, so if St. Louis wins the Stanley Cup, there’s a strong chance that Binnington stands alone there. (Sorry, Jake Allen ... but we’ll see?)
- Pietrangelo notched his 14th assist of this postseason. The Blues’ single-postseason record is 15, owned by Bernie Federko from 1982, so Pietrangelo has a chance to tie or break that mark.
- The Blues’ nine road playoff wins ties them for second all-time. They currently have 30 road wins between the playoffs and regular season, which only ties them for the most in 2018-19, as the Tampa Bay Lightning managed that in the regular season. In case you needed a reminder of how great that Lightning team was through 82 games (sorry Tampa Bay fans).
How to watch Game 6
Game 6 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final airs at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday (NBC; stream here).