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J O I N U S O N L I N E S T L T O D A Y. C O M / S P O R T S

WEDNESDAY • 05.01.2019 • B

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS • BLUES LEAD SERIES 2-1 Game 1 Blues 3, Stars 2 GWG: Tarasenko

Game 2 Stars 4, Blues 2 GWG: Janmark

Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. at Dallas NBCSN

Game 3 Blues 3, Stars 2 GWG: Maroon

*May 7, TBA at Enterprise

*May 5, TBA at Dallas

Friday, 8:30 p.m. at Enterprise NBCSN

* If necessary

VACATION CAN WAIT

PHOTO BY J.B. FORBES • jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Stars goalie Ben Bishop makes a save on a point-blank shot by Ryan O’Reilly on Monday.

PHOTO BY J.B. FORBES • jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Tyler Bozak knocks in a shot behind Stars goalie Ben Bishop at Dallas on Monday.

Bouwmeester shines as a reliable veteran BENJAMIN HOCHMAN St. Louis Post-Dispatch

DALLAS • Perhaps the crazi-

est thing about this crazy Blues season, one in which Jordan Binnington became a standout starting goalie and some guy named Oskar Sundqvist scored 14 goals, is that Blues fans now actually like Jay Bouwmeester. Once seen as old and a liability, he’s now a reliable veteran. Fans used to want him on another team, and now they wonder how their team would hold up without him. The bruised Blue blocked eight

shots in Game 3 — not one Dallas player blocked more than three, yet two other Blues blocked four each, to go along with Bouwmeester’s octet. Oh, and “Bow” was a plus-3 in Game 3, tallying two assists, too. “He is,” teammate Alexander Steen said,“a beast.” They’re saying this about Jay Bouwmeester — can you believe it? It really has made for one of the neater stories of the season. And, just like the journey of Patrick Maroon or David Perron, a microcosm of the season — veterans who played so poorly they were healthy scratches in late 2018 … and are now huge parts of the 2019 postseason. See HOCHMAN • Page B2

Bozak, O’Reilly finally play in second round BY JIM THOMAS St. Louis Post-Dispatch

PHOTOS BY J.B. FORBES • P-D

The Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo (right) is congratulated by Jay Bouwmeester after scoring on a slap shot from the point during the third on Monday in Dallas.

LINDELL’S DIVES A FLOP Stars player takes heat after poor acting job on Monday . B2

DALLAS • For the past 10 years, this usually has been vacation time for Tyler Bozak. “I was probably in Hawaii or Mexico or something like that,” Bozak said. “There’s actually some old pictures on social media (from) the time off. I was constantly on vacation (this time of year).” As for Ryan O’Reilly, he’s usually playing hockey somewhere in May — but for Team Canada in the World Championships. “So you’re just skating on your own and watching the (NHL) playoffs,” he said. “Usually, I have a little down time.

BUNT GETS BIRDS GOING

But still, you’re gearing up for a tournament, so it’s not a true vacation.” Bozak and O’Reilly both broke into the NHL in 2009-10 — or 10 seasons ago. They have played a combined 1,439 regular-season games. Strangely, despite all that experience, this is the first time for either player in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Bozak played his entire NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to joining the Blues. In those nine seasons with Toronto, Bozak made the playoffs only three times — the 2012-13, ’16-17 and ’17-18 seasons — and got eliminated in the first round See BLUES • Page B3

Cardinals will soar once their pitching matches their hitting success JEFF GORDON St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Nationals Park – their 10th come-frombehind win of the season. Washington starter Anibal Sanchez called the bunt a “surprise,” and Wong couldn’t have putted it straighter down the line. “Really good court awareness for Kolten, really taking what is out there,” manager Mike Shildt said. “Felt like a free hit and a free RBI and a run for us.” Said starter Adam Wainwright: “Perfectly executed, at a perfect time.” As tight a line as Wong’s bunt had in the fourth inning was the margin for er-

April did not play out exactly as the Cardinals expected. Their pitching staff was not their strength. Staff ace Miles Mikolas struggled with his command. So did key relief addition Andrew Miller and young starters Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson. Potential star Carlos Martinez remained sidelined by shoulder woes. Top prospect Alex Reyes suffered a broken left pinkie finger while punching a wall in the minors. Starter Michael Wacha missed one start due to a sore knee and reliever Mike Mayers shut down with a months-long shoulder injury. Whew! Despite all of that — plus the lingering absence of injured relievers Luke Gregerson and Brett Cecil — the Cardinals not only survived the month, they flourished. After losing five of their first eight games this season, the Cardinals won 15 of their next 20 to take the NL Central lead. They figured out how to beat Milwaukee and how to pitch to (or around) Brewers slugger Christian Yelich. How good could they become once they pitch to the high level they anticipated for this season? The Cardinals bought their pitchers time by averaging a league-best 5.53 runs per game through Monday’s games. The acquisition of Paul Goldschmidt had the desired impact on the batting order. Better yet, Marcell Ozuna and Dexter Fowler have returned to their 2017 production levels after difficult ’18

See CARDINALS • Page B5

See GORDON • Page B3

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Cardinals’ Paul DeJong comes in to score on a bunt single by Kolten Wong as Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki has no play.

After Wong’s RBI tap, Bader follows with game-winning hit BY DERRICK GOOLD St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WASHINGTON • Before he begins any round of batting practice, Cardinals infielder Kolten Wong bunts five pitches down the third-base line and then five down the first-base line to keep his touch in tune. It’s a routine that he’s returned to since last season and focused on this season for one reason. It can be the biggest smallest part of his game. And he’s now free to use it. With the Cardinals down early Tues-

CARDINALS

3 NATIONALS

2

> 6:05 p.m. Wednesday at Nationals, FSM > Miles Mikolas (2-2, 5.29 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (1-3, 4.12 ERA) > Nats ace still searching for elusive title . B5

day to Washington, Wong heisted a run and unlocked the decisive rally with a bases-loaded, two-out bunt down the third-base line. Wong’s bunting bravado brought Paul DeJong home and set up Harrison Bader’s two-run single that sent the Cardinals to a 3-2 victory at

SPORTS

1 M