Ryan O’Reilly’s two-goal effort lifted the Blues past the Bruins in a 4–2 Game 4 win and delivered the franchise’s first ever Stanley Cup victory in St. Louis.
Reinvigorated by Brett Hull’s full-throated on-ice “Let’s Go Blues!” war cry right before puck drop, the Blues hammering forecheck smashed Boston’s defense and capitalized when O’Reilly recovered defenseman Vince Dunn’s point shot and scored on a wraparound 43 seconds in. After 16 St. Louis hits and 11 shot attempts, Bruins center Charlie Coyle settled the onslaught, for a second, and tied the game. Vladimir Tarasenko responded less than three minutes later and sent Alex Pietrangelo’s rebound past Tuukka Rask to put the Blues ahead 2–1 with 4:30 left in the first period.
Zdeno Chara left the second period after taking a Brayden Schenn wrist shot to the face. Cue the wild adventures of playoff hockey: The Bruins power play—converting at the second-highest rate in postseason history—nearly surrendered a shorthanded goal when O’Reilly skated free and sent a breakaway chance dribbling through the crease. Then, on the penalty kill, Patrice Bergeron snapped a shot off Jordan Binnington’s left pad and Brandon Carlo sent the rebound off Binnington’s sprawling right glove and into the net.
The 2–2 tie remained intact midway through the third period, until Pietrangelo unleashed a bomb from the top of the right face-off circle. O’Reilly, taking advantage of a Bruins change, weaved into the slot and slammed in another rebound for his second goal of the game. Schenn added insurance and sealed the win with an empty net goal with 89 seconds left.
The bounce-back Blues evaded early proclamations of its postseason demise and indicated there’s some Laura Branigan–infused magic left in St. Louis. Game 5 shifts back to Boston and away from the Enterprise Center, and that’s when the Blues have found its playoff bearings.
With the series tied 2–2, St. Louis traveled to Winnipeg, erased a 2–0 deficit with three third period goals in a Game 5 victory and closed the series at home two nights later. Then, against San Jose in the Western Conference Final, the Blues outscored the Sharks 10–1 in Games 5–6 to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
Now, St. Louis has to do that one more time. The Blues, minus undisciplined play and a withering power play, have played close to its best hockey in the Stanley Cup Final. They hold a +23 hit advantage, a +16 shot differential and finally have a finals win at home to show for it. Binnington improved to a 13–2 record in games after a loss and the team’s unrelenting play to open games is unmatched. Coach Craig Berube’s tinkering worked: Zach Sanford jolted the second line and Dunn returned to provide an offensive spark from the blue line.
All of that helped St. Louis turn the series into a best-of-three contest. Boston hasn’t delivered consistent hockey on a game-to-game basis. Rask looks beatable. Without its Game 3 performance, the Bruins power play is a mediocre 2–12 against the Blues. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have gone silent for stretches. Two nights before Game 5, the Bruins aren’t showing any signs for an eventual turnaround.
And, for at least one more time this postseason, play “Gloria.”