Perhaps it was a jinx from the St. Louis Dispatch prematurely running a celebratory ad. Or maybe it was the hockey gods balancing out the series for a controversial missed tripping call from Game 5.
Most likely, this series is headed back to Boston for a Game 7 because of the Bruins’ special teams and outstanding play from Tuukka Rask. The Finnish goaltender made 28 saves in the Bruins’ 5–1 win over the Blues in Game 6.
After losing two straight in Games 4–5, Rask displayed how locked in he was from the get-go. The Blues were given an early power play on which they had several decent looks, but Rask made the saves, including a huge stop on Brayden Schenn. Later in the period the Bruins found themselves with a 5-on-3 advantage thanks to penalties from Schenn and Ryan O'Reilly that was too sweet for their lethal power play to pass up. Brad Marchand one-timed a pass from David Pastrnak to get things started for Boston.
The lead would stay through the second period, although the Blues had two more power-play opportunities. But St. Louis couldn’t capitalize as the Bruins’ penalty kill continued to come up big, including a wild save from Charlie McAvoy, who batted the puck off Rask’s back and preserve the Bruins’ lead.
While it felt like St. Louis was on the verge of scoring, the Bruins doubled their lead early in the third. Brandon Carlo unleashed shot from the blue line and the bouncing puck hopped right past Binnington to put the Bruins up, 2–0.
Former Blues captain David Backes was out of the lineup again as a healthy scratch for the Bruins for the second straight game. Backes was replaced by Karson Kuhlman, who hadn’t played since the second round but unleashed a snapshot from the right circle that went right under the bar midway through the third period to seal up the win for Boston.
The Blues finally got one past Rask when a shot from Ryan O’Reilly was reviewed and deemed to have crossed over the goal line completely. But it would be too little too late for the Blues. Pastrnak scored with less than six minutes left to squander any life in the Enterprise Center. Zdeno Chara added the empty-netter from the distance for good measure.
Now as the Blues aim to end their 52-year Stanley Cup drought, they won’t be able to complete the feat on home ice. Meanwhile, the Bruins will head back to Boston in hopes of giving their city the elusive trifecta of three championships in one year. The last time the Stanley Cup Final went to a Game 7 was in 2011, when the Bruins topped the Canucks in Vancouver. And the last time the Bruins won the Cup on home ice? Well, that was 1970, but you know that story by now.