St. Louis returned to its hard-nosed style of play and outlasted Boston 3–2 in overtime to pick up the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Final win.
The last time the Blues and Bruins went to overtime in the Stanley Cup Final, hockey’s most iconic photo was taken. This time around, it was a Blues defenseman who played the hero.
Carl Gunnarsson hit the goal post with 1:57 left in the third period, but it was 3:51 into overtime that he found the back of the net. With a delayed call coming up against the Bruins, the Blues pulled goalie Jordan Binnington and added an extra skater. Gunnarsson blasted a shot from the point to beat the Bruins 3–2 in Game 2, giving St. Louis its first-ever win in a Stanley Cup Final.
The Blues had been great on the road all postseason (and all of 2019, really), but strayed away from their hard-nosed system in Game 1, taking unnecessary penalties and lightening up on the forecheck. That wasn’t the case in Game 2. St. Louis returned to its bruising style of play, unloading 50 hits and sustaining significant pressure that allowed it to set a physical tone and take over.
“It’s not a pretty system, but it gets the job done,” Blues center Brayden Schenn told NBCSN’s Jeremy Roenick after the game.
The bumps and bruises started coming fairly early on Wednesday. Boston was playing with five defensemen for the majority of the game after Matt Grzelcyk was hit hard into the boards by Oskar Sundqvist in the first period. Grzelcyk was checked out by trainers and helped off the ice while Sundqvist was sent to the box for a minor boarding penalty. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters after the game that Grzelcyk was taken to the hospital, but had no other update on the defenseman.
It looked like Game 2 had started where Game 1 had left off when Boston found itself on the power play early. Sammy Blais went hard to the net but ran over Tuukka Rask and was called for goalie interference, and Charlie Coyle scored on the ensuing man advantage. It looked like the Bruins had six players on the ice right before the goal, but that went unnoticed and the Bruins had a 1–0 lead.
About five minutes later, Robert Bortuzzo threw a puck on net and it bounced off Grzelcyk to beat Rask. The Bruins regained the lead just 36 seconds later when Joakim Nordstrom pushed a puck five hole through Binnington. Vladimir Tarasenko then tied it up again with 5:05 left in the period when he stuck with his own rebound, lifting the puck over Rask’s right pad to extend his point streak to eight games. Tarasenko left early in the second period after falling into the boards, but returned midway through the frame. St. Louis was already without defenseman Vince Dunn (who hasn't played since Game 3 of the Western Conference Final) and rookie Robert Thomas, who was on the losing end of a big open-ice hit from Torey Krug in Game 1 (though coach Craig Berube said that wasn't the source of his injury that sidelined him).
But it seemed to be the Blues dishing out the biggest hits in Game 2. The Bruins had 39 hits of their own, but St. Louis had more energy and resiliency. “They seemed to play with more urgency tonight than they did in Game 1. We played with less,” Cassidy said after the game.
Aside from giving up the early power-play goal, the Blues were able to shut down Boston’s fearsome power play and even found themselves with a couple of opportunities on the penalty kill. Much like the series opener, Boston’s top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak was quiet once again in Game 2. The Bruins relied on their depth to running away with the first game, but that wasn’t enough to match the Blues on Wednesday and now the series heads back to St. Louis all evened up.