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Page 1

STA N LEY CU P FI NA L EDIT ION

FRIDAY • 06.07.2019 • $2.50

2

GAME 5

BLUES LEAD SERIES 3-2

1

WHAT A TRIP! 2-1 win puts Blues on verge of Cup title

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

Bruins forward Noel Acciari flips after contact from the Blues’ Tyler Bozak (21), a play some believe should have drawn a penalty. Seconds later, David Perron scored the winning goal.

Blues players celebrate David Perron’s goal that made the score 2-0 midway through the third period in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden in Boston on Thursday night.

GAME 1

5/27 at Boston Bos 0 2 2 — 4 Stl 1 10 — 2 GWG: Kuraly

GAME 2

5/29 at Boston Stl 2 0 0 1 — 3 Bos 2 0 0 0 — 2 GWG: Gunnarsson

GAME 3

Sat. at Blues Bos 3 2 2 — 7 Stl 0 1 1 — 2 GWG: Kuraly

GAME 4

Mon. at Blues Stl 20 2 — 4 Bos 1 10 — 2 GWG: O’Reilly

GAME 5

Thur. at Boston Stl 0 1 1 — 2 Bos 0 0 1 — 1 GWG: Perron

GAME 6 7 p.m. Sunday at Blues KSDK (Ch.5)

GAME 7* 7 p.m. Wednesday at Boston KSDK (Ch.5)

* IF NECESSARY

Subscribe for every cold, icy detail at STLtoday.com/subscribenow TODAY’S COMPLETE NEWSPAPER INSIDE STANLEY CUP FINAL EDITION Vol. 141, No. 158 ©2019

1 M


STA N LEY CU P FI NA L EDIT ION

FRIDAY • 06.07.2019 • $2.50

2

GAME 5

BLUES LEAD SERIES 3-2

1

WHAT A TRIP! Victory puts Blues on verge of Cup title

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

Bruins forward Noel Acciari flips backward after contact from Tyler Bozak (21) Thursday night. Whether Acciari was tripped or he embellished – or both – is subject to debate, but there’s no question the controversial play led to David Perron’s winning goal seconds later while Acciari watched from his knees.

GAME 1

5/27 at Boston Bos 0 2 2 — 4 Stl 1 10 — 2 GWG: Kuraly

GAME 2

5/29 at Boston Stl 2 0 0 1 — 3 Bos 2 0 0 0 — 2 GWG: Gunnarsson

GAME 3

Sat. at Blues Bos 3 2 2 — 7 Stl 0 1 1 — 2 GWG: Kuraly

GAME 4

Mon. at Blues Stl 20 2 — 4 Bos 1 10 — 2 GWG: O’Reilly

GAME 5

Thur. at Boston Stl 0 1 1 — 2 Bos 0 0 1 — 1 GWG: Perron

GAME 6 7 p.m. Sunday at Blues KSDK (Ch.5)

GAME 7* 7 p.m. Wednesday at Boston KSDK (Ch.5)

* IF NECESSARY

Subscribe for every cold, icy detail at STLtoday.com/subscribenow TODAY’S COMPLETE NEWSPAPER INSIDE STANLEY CUP FINAL EDITION Vol. 141, No. 158 ©2019

2 M


STANLEY CUP FINAL

S2 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

2

GAME 5

BLUES LEAD SERIES 3-2

M 1 • FrIDAy • 06.07.2019

1

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

Blues players congratulate goalie Jordan Binnington at the end of the game after he made 38 saves in their 2-1 win Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston.

BLUES ONE AWAY FROM THE CUP Tense win at Boston is good for 3-2 series lead

BLUES 2, BRUINS 1

BY JIM THOMAS St. Louis Post-Dispatch

T

Blues Boston

BOSTON

hree down, one to go. The Blues are on the doorstep of hockey history, on the brink of winning the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. Thursday’s 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden gave the Blues a 3-2 lead in the best-ofseven Cup Final. They can clinch with a victory in Game 6 Sunday at Enterprise Center in St. Louis. The Blues continued their road warrior ways, winning for the ninth time in 12 away games this postseason. In the history of the Stanley Cup, only five teams have won more in a single postseason. Meanwhile, Jordan Binnington continued his own march through playoff history. His ninth road victory established an NHL record for a rookie goaltender in one postseason - he had shared the previous mark of eight with Ron Hextall (1987, for Philadelphia). And Binnington has tied the rookie record for most overall wins in one postseason at 15, a mark he now shares with four others. Zach Sanford-Ryan O’Reilly-David Perron have been a line for only 14 games - regular season and playoffs combined, but they had 13 goals and 26 as a unit in those games after a dazzling between-the-legs backhand from Sanford to O’Reilly resulted in the game’s first goal. Actually, Sanford’s pass was between two sets of legs - his own and then Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy, with O’Reilly on the receiving end in front of the net. Just 55 seconds into the second period, O’Reilly’s backhand beat Boston goalie Tuukka Rask top shelf. It was O’Reilly’s sixth goal of the postseason, but his third goal in the last two games. For Sanford, it was his third assist in as many games since returning to the lineup in Game 3 of this final. He had been a healthy scratch the previous 18 contests, and was called off the bench only because of Oskar Sundqvist’s Game 3 suspension. Playing in his 106th game of the season, more than anyone in the NHL, O’Reilly has come on strong late in the playoffs with eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last six games. The Blues were outshot 8-6 in the pe-

0 0

1 0

1 1

— —

2 1

First Period None. Penalties: Dunn, STL, (delay of game), 6:27; Marchand, BOS, (slashing), 17:22. Second Period Blues: O’Reilly 6 (Sanford, Pietrangelo), 0:55. Penalties: Perron, STL, (interference), 9:25. Third Period Blues: Perron 7 (Bozak, O’Reilly), 10:36. Boston: DeBrusk 4 (Krug), 13:32. Penalties: Steen, STL, (interference), 3:09.

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington defends his goal as the Bruins’ David Krejci tries to shove the puck past Binnington’s pads in the third period Thursday night.

riod and killed off their second penalty of the night when Perron was sent off for interference against David Pastrnak at the 9:25 mark of the second. Early in the third period it became 3-for-3 on the penalty kill for St. Louis after another interference penalty, this one against Alexander Steen against David Krejci. Binnington made a key save on David Pastrnak on the power play, but Boston had a more dangerous chance on a 2-on-1 rush with McAvoy shooting wide. But the Bruins came close again when Pastrnak tried a wraparound. Krejci came in for the rebound and kept jamming away at Binnington before the play was whistled dead with 13 minutes to play. The officiating crew consulted with the NHL situation room in Toronto but there was no conclusive proof that the puck crossed the goal line. Just 1 minute and 1 second later, Colton Parayko did everything but score when his shot flicked off Rask and hit the post. Next came the defining moment in the game. Tyler Bozak was in behind Noel Acciari of the Bruins in the St. Louis offensive zone. Bozak stuck out his stick and touched the puck, Acciari fell backwards and the entire crowd and everyone on the Boston bench thought it should have been a tripping penalty. But there was no call by referees Steve

Kozari and Kelly Sutherland. Seconds later, Perron scored his seventh goal of the postseason but first of this series on a shot that deflected in off Rask. The crowd responded by showering the ice with debris. So the Blues had a 2-0 lead with 9:24 to go, but not for long. With the Blues about to get whistled for a delayed penalty, Jake DeBrusk fired from the right faceoff circle and beat Binnington far side. With 6:28 to play it was a 2-1 game and TD Garden was alive. Boston threw a lot at the Blues and Binnington in the opening minutes, outshooting St. Louis 11-2 in the first nine minutes of play. The Blues regrouped to a degree over the rest of the period but it was still 17-8 Bruins in shots after one - which would put Binnington on a 51-save pace. The Bruins got an early power play chance when Vince Dunn sent a clearing attempt into the stands 6 1/2 minutes into the game. But the Blues’ penalty kill did its job, limiting Boston to two shots. The crowd at TD Garden was jacked from the start, in part because of the return of veteran defenseman Zdeno Chara, whose status was uncertain for this game after taking a puck to the mouth in Game 4 Monday in St. Louis. Chara took part in the team’s optional morning skate and was in the starting lineup wearing protective gear that

Shots on Goal 8 Blues 17 Boston

6 8

7 14

— —

21 39

Power play Blues 0 of 1; Boston 0 of 3. Goaltenders Blues, Binnington 15-9 (39 shots-38 saves). Boston, Rask 14-8 (21-19). A: 17,565 (17,565). T: 2:39. Referees: Steve Kozari, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen: Greg Devorski, Pierre Racicot.

looked almost like a football facemask. Binnington was on his game from the outset, getting help from hockey gods when Brad Marchand hit the post with 4:49 left in the period. Marchand later found himself in the penalty box for slashing, when he poked Binnington in the stomach with his stick. But the Blues fell to 1-for-14 on the power play in this series, with only one shot on goal. (Boston also had one shot playing shorthanded.) St. Louis did have its chances, most notably Bozak on a feed from below the goal line by Pat Maroon. There was a brief delay afterwards as game officials conferred with Toronto, apparently checking if Bozak’s shot crossed the goal line. Brayden Schenn had a Grade A chance from the slot off a feed from Vladimir Tarasenko near the right points. And with just 1:28 left in the first, Rask stopped a backdoor attempt by Perron.

Subscribe for every cold, icy detail at STLtoday.com/subscribenow


STANLEY CUP FINAL

S2 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

2

GAME 5

BLUES LEAD SERIES 3-2

M 2 • FrIDAy • 06.07.2019

1

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

The Blues’ Brayden Schenn knocks down the Bruins’ Charlie McAvoy during the second period of Game 5 on Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston.

BLUES ONE AWAY FROM THE CUP Tense win at Boston is good for 3-2 series lead

BLUES 2, BRUINS 1

BY JIM THOMAS St. Louis Post-Dispatch

T

Blues Boston

BOSTON

hree down, one to go. The Blues are on the doorstep of hockey history, on the brink of winning the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. It came cloaked in some controversy but Thursday’s 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden gave the Blues a 3-2 lead in the best-ofseven Cup Final. They can clinch with a victory in Game 6 Sunday at Enterprise Center in St. Louis. Just one more win. “It’s obviously a lot of emotion that goes through your head and stuff like that,” Brayden Schenn said. “We’ve been battling all year, we’ve been grinding all year. We know what’s at stake ... and we’re gonna be ready for Game 6.” The Blues got goals from a suddenlyrevived Ryan O’Reilly and feisty David Perron. They got one of the best games yet from rookie goalie Jordan Binnington, who stopped 38 of 39 shots. In the process, Binnington continued his own march through playoff history. His ninth road victory established an NHL record for a rookie goaltender in one postseason. And he tied the NHL rookie record for most overall wins in one postseason at 15, a mark he now shares with four others. “He was excellent all game, and did a great job in the first period for sure,” coach Craig Berube said. “They came hard, Boston. We were tested in the first (period) for sure and ‘Binner’ stood tall. Big reason we won the game.” The Blues killed off three Boston power plays Thursday, making them 6-for-6 on the penalty kill since allowing four power-play goals in Game 3 Saturday. And they may have benefited most from a penalty that wasn’t called. Midway through the third period, with the Blues up 1-0, Tyler Bozak came at Boston’s Noel Acciari from behind. Bozak stuck out his stick and appeared to touch the puck, Acciari fell backward and the crowd at TD Garden, not to mention everyone on the Boston bench, thought it should have been a tripping penalty. But there was no call by referees Steve Kozari and Kelly Sutherland. Seconds later, Perron scored his seventh goal of the postseason but first of this series on an attempted pass that deflected off Boston goalie Tuukka Rask and into the net. “It’s not like something crazy was missed in my opinion,” Perron said of the no-call. “I don’t know.”

0 0

1 0

1 1

— —

2 1

First Period None. Penalties: Dunn, STL, (delay of game), 6:27; Marchand, BOS, (slashing), 17:22. Second Period Blues: O’Reilly 6 (Sanford, Pietrangelo), 0:55. Penalties: Perron, STL, (interference), 9:25. Third Period Blues: Perron 7 (Bozak, O’Reilly), 10:36. Boston: DeBrusk 4 (Krug), 13:32. Penalties: Steen, STL, (interference), 3:09. Shots on Goal 8 Blues 17 Boston

6 8

7 14

— —

21 39

Power play Blues 0 of 1; Boston 0 of 3. The Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko hugs goalie Jordan Binnington at the end of Game 5 after Binnington made 38 saves in a victory against the Bruins.

The crowd thought otherwise, showering the ice with debris. “It was a little puck battle,” Bozak said. “I went for the puck with my stick and it kinda got caught in his feet. I don’t know. And then we just got the puck back. DP (Perron) tried to pass it and it banked in off Rask and went in. So we’ll take it.” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t take it - lightly, that is - when it came to the no-call. “The narrative changed after Game 3,” Cassidy said. “There’s a complaint or whatever put forth by the opposition. It just seems to have changed everything.” That was a reference to some mild complaining by Berube following his team’s 7-2 loss in Game 3 about the amount of penalties being called against the Blues. In stark contrast to Berube after the “Hand Pass” game against San Jose, when the Blues coach said very little about that blown call in overtime, Cassidy had plenty to say about the Bozak no-call. “Their player is on his way to the box,” Cassidy said. “It’s right in front of the official. ... The spotter took (Acciari) out of the game for a possible concussion. I mean, it’s blatant. It had a big effect on the game.” Cassidy went on to say that the NHL is “getting a black-eye” with their play-

off officiating and said the no-call on Bozak was “egregious.” The NHL eventually apologized for the blown call on the hand pass by San Jose. At the start of the Cup Final, commissioner Gary Bettman said his head almost exploded when he saw that play. There were no apologies from the NHL on Thursday night. NHL senior vice president and director of officiating Stephen Walkom said this about Thursday’s no-call to a pool reporter after the game: “We don’t make comments on judgment calls within games. There are hundreds of judgment calls in every game. The official on the play, he viewed it and he didn’t view it as a penalty at the time.” So the Blues had a 2-0 lead with 9:24 to go, but not for long. With the Blues about to get whistled for a delayed penalty, Jake DeBrusk fired from the right faceoff circle and beat Binnington. With 6:28 to play it was a 2-1 game and TD Garden came alive. But the Blues weathered the storm down the stretch, continuing their road warrior ways. It was their ninth victory in 12 away games this postseason. In the history of the Stanley Cup, only five teams have won more in a single postseason. “Probably not as pretty as we’d like it to be, but we gutted it out and got

Goaltenders Blues, Binnington 15-9 (39 shots-38 saves). Boston, Rask 14-8 (21-19). A: 17,565 (17,565). T: 2:39. Referees: Steve Kozari, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen: Greg Devorski, Pierre Racicot.

the job done,” Schenn said. “Binner played unbelievable for us. They took it to us for most of that game. We sat back maybe a little too much, and we’re gonna have to change that for Game 6.’ Bozak agreed. “They pushed hard in the first, the second and the third,” he said. “I think Binner really held it down for us. And we got a couple late for him.” Well, actually the game’s first goal O’Reilly’s - came just 55 seconds into the second period. The line of Zach Sanford-O’ReillyPerron has been together for only 14 games - regular season and playoffs combined, but they ended Game 5 with 14 goals and 27 assists in those games with the first goal coming on a dazzling between-the-legs backhand pass from Sanford to O’Reilly. Actually, Sanford’s pass was between two sets of legs - his own and then Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy, with O’Reilly on the receiving end in front of the net. O’Reilly’s backhand beat Rask top shelf. And helped put the Blues just one win away from hockey history.


06.07.2019 • Friday • M 1

STANLEY CUP FINAL

ST. LOUiS POST-diSPaTCH • S3


S4 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL

M 1 • FRIDAY • 06.07.2019

THE GOALIE IS GOLDEN

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

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington stops a wraparound attempt by the Bruins’ Brad Marchand as Colton Parayko defends during the third period Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston.

Bruins are on the brink because Jordan Binnington wouldn’t fold BEN FREDERICKSON St. Louis Post-Dispatch

B

BOSTON

efore the trash fell toward the ice like snow, and before fans wearing the same colors turned on one another in the stands, and before a city with a championship pedigree became one on the brink, Marcus Johansson’s reaction said it all. The left-handed shot of the Bruins forward launched early in the third period was a screaming missile, the kind of laser that can make a goalie look like he’s buffering until the shot is buried in the net behind him. Jordan Binnington never moved. He wasn’t frozen. He was already in the perfect position. Binnington’s glove snapped shut around the puck. He didn’t react. Johansson did. The frustrated Bruin on his team’s silent second line looked up toward the rafters of TD Garden, where six championship banners hang, as if to ask the hockey gods why this goalie would not give, why he was somehow getting better as this series aged. Johansson bent over at the waist. His hands rested on his knees. Boston was showing signs of cracking, and the most important moments of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final had not yet arrived. These Blues are one win away from lifting Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first time, one win away from becoming legends forever, thanks to their 2-1 win against Boston at TD Garden on Thursday night. They won because David Perron kept playing when everyone else paused to wonder if Tyler Bozak’s leg whip of Noel Acciari would turn into a penalty. It didn’t, and Perron — the player some thought should be benched because he keeps taking penalties — made it a 2-0 game in the third. They won because Zach Sanford, who watched the last games played here in Boston from press row alongside Post-Dispatch reporters as a healthy scratch, made a jaw-dropping first-period pass to teammate Ryan O’Reilly, who is playing like a man possessed. Sanford’s no-look pass zipped not just between his legs, but also the legs of Charlie McAvoy before O’Reilly flashed past Jake DeBrusk to beat goalie Tuukka Rask. But more than anything, they won because Binnington once again continued to strengthen his grip on the throat of an opponent as a postseason series ages. He blanketed Boston until the third period, gave the Bruins one breath when DeBrusk

scored with 13:32 to play, and then took hope away once more. In the biggest game in Blues history until Game 6, Binnington tied his hero Patrick Roy (1986) as one of four goalies who have 15 playoff wins as a rookie. The Blues are now 7-1 in Games 5, 6 and 7 this postseason. The biggest reason wears No. 50. Binnington set his postseason high of 38 saves on 39 shots in a display that included a stuffed wraparound that stood the test of a review, multiple pucks he punched out of the air, saves he made while he was being pushed out of his goal, and saves made while he was trying to push Bruins out of his goal. The first period belonged to Binnington. He smoothed things over better than a Zamboni. The Bruins out-shot the Blues 17-8 while out-hitting them 23-18. From the moment when Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, inspiring his team by playing with a broken jaw, slammed Brayden Schenn into the wall as if to prove his health,the B’s were on the attack. The Blues iced the puck to save time. They gave Boston a power play because they sent a puck into the stands to save time. When Brad Marchand, who ripped four shots and put two on goal in that period, zoomed into Binnington after a save to give him a poke with his stick, you had to wonder how long he could hold up. Why do we keep wondering? Schenn got juked out of his skates in the first period. Alexander Steen got his stick taken away from him. Pat Maroon, pointless in six games entering this one, could not net his shot on a prime breakaway. Noel Acciari leveled Alex Pietrangelo. Torey Krug crushed Steen. Binnington wiped it all away. The Blues found their game in the second period, starting with Vladimir Tarasenko’s blitz toward the net as soon as the puck dropped. The Blues, rolling their lines in short shifts, created offensive zone time and stressful scoring chances thanks to their enthusiastic forecheck. The constant was Binnington. He got some luck, like when pucks hit posts and one ricochet split his legs. He got some help, like when Carl Gunnarsson’s diving save with fewer than two minutes left cleared a puck from the crease as Binnington scrambled for his blocker. More than anything, he got the Blues to a place they have never been before. He reset his choke-hold after DeBrusk beat him, one again turning a frenzied crowd into a frustrated one. He made his final save on Krug with seven seconds left in the game. Boston fans were already trickling toward the exits by then. Binnington had broken them, and maybe their team.

LET’S GO

BLUES

TEAM PHYSICIANS for the ST. LOUIS BLUES and YOU


S4 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL

M 2 • FRIDAY • 06.07.2019

THE GOALIE IS GOLDEN

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

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington stops a wraparound attempt by the Bruins’ Brad Marchand as Colton Parayko defends during the third period Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston.

Bruins are on the brink because Jordan Binnington wouldn’t fold BEN FREDERICKSON St. Louis Post-Dispatch

M

BOSTON

arcus Johansson’s reaction was a sign. It will get lost, of course, because Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final went mad. The story will shift to the men on the ice we are not supposed to notice, because that’s what happens when a league can’t seem to figure out how to find officials who can keep up with the cameras that catch what human eyes miss. The discussion will stick on Tyler Bozak’s trip of Noel Acciari, and how and why things might have changed if a missed penalty didn’t help the Blues take a two-goal third-period lead in a game they won 2-1. There’s just one problem there. That story completely ignores the beginning and the end, and forgets to mention the main character. The Blues are not one win away from lifting the Stanley Cup for the first time because of a non-call. They are not one win away from becoming legends forever because a trip was missed. They left here 60 minutes away from a curse lifted because of a 25-year-old who wears No. 50. Jordan Binnington is doing it again. The Blues’ rookie goalie is once more choking the life out of another playoff opponent as a series reaches its most crucial point. Johansson told us so. Before the Blues had to dodge water bottles, before discarded rally towels fell toward the ice like snow, before fans wearing black and gold went from trading high-fives to exchanging haymakers, Johansson offered a tell. The Bruins were trailing 1-0 when the forward on Boston’s silent second line found a wide-open lane and launched his left-handed shot toward Binnington. It was the kind of shot that can make a goalie look like he’s buffering until the goal horn sounds. Binnington indeed looked frozen. The goalie never moved. Didn’t need to. He was already in the perfect position. Save made. Easy. Seven and a half minutes into a third period that was about to spiral into madness, Johansson responded to Binnington’s save by looking toward the rafters of TD Garden, where the banners of the Bruins and the Celtics hang, as if to ask the sports gods of this championshiprich city if they have ever encountered an opponent like this. Johansson bent at his

waist. He looked at his skates. His hands rested on his knees. And there it was, a sign of the crack before the chaos. We will never know for sure what would have happened if Bozak’s trip of Acciari — a missed penalty but one that was not as obvious as some will make it seem — would have been called. We can, however, take an educated guess. The team with the better goalie would have won the game. Advantage, Blues. The Blues won, in part, because a whistle did not blow. They won, in part, because David Perron was the only player on the ice who played until the whistle did blow. They won because Zach Sanford, a Boston-area native who watched the first two games of this series from the press box alongside PostDispatch scribes as a healthy scratch, made a jaw-dropping first-period pass to teammate Ryan O’Reilly. But more than anything, the Blues won because Binnington plays for the Blues. Binnington blanketed Boston until the third. He gave the Bruins one single breath when Jake DeBrusk’s one-timer from the circle hit the net with 6:28 to play. And then the goalie ripped hope away again. Against a team that had found new life, beneath the roar of a crowd that was foaming at the mouth, Binnington faced five more shots on goal before the game’s end. He stopped them all. Sean Kuraly tried and failed. Charlie McAvoy tried and failed. John More tried and failed. Torey Krug tried and failed. Twice. In the biggest game in Blues history until Sunday, Binnington tied his hero Patrick Roy (1986) as one of four goalies who have 15 playoff wins as a rookie. The Blues are now 7-1 in Games 5, 6 and 7 this postseason. Their goalie is slamming the door closed again. He’s made 59 saves on 62 shots in back-toback wins. Thursday night’s 38 saves on 39 shots was his postseason best. Binnington’s display included a stuffed wraparound that stood the test of a review, multiple pucks he punched out of the air, saves he made while he was being pushed out of his goal, and saves made while he was trying to push Bruins out of his goal. Most importantly, the goalie who pulled this season away from the edge of disaster led the Blues to the precipice of immortality. His final save came against Krug with seven seconds left. Boston fans were already trickling toward the exits by then. One young Bruins fan flashed the goalie a middle finger. No. 50 was No. 1.

LET’S GO

BLUES

TEAM PHYSICIANS for the ST. LOUIS BLUES and YOU


STANLEY CUP FINAL

06.07.2019 • FRIDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S5

PLAY ONE FOR BERNIE

Long-suffering fans, like Federko, are nearing the unthinkable BENJAMIN HOCHMAN St. Louis Post-Dispatch

T

BOSTON

he night before Game 5, on the quiet, narrow streets of Boston’s old Italian area, noise spilled out of one of the North End restaurants. Just what was going on in there? As you walked closer, you began to make out the sound. Could it be? Yep, it was “Gloria.” And inside, there was Blues legend Bernie Federko, the Hall of Famer, a great grin across his famous face. He was responsible for the request – talked the owner into it – and Federko and some other Blues folks soaked it all in. A night later, so did all of St. Louis. Blues 2, Bruins 1. Game 5 in Boston. It was, unequivocally, the greatest win in the history of St. Louis Blues history … yet, it could get bumped down to No. 2 on Sunday. Each win means more than the last. The Blues will host Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, and if the Blues win, they win the Stanley Cup. It’s happening. History is happening. The fellows with the white gloves will bring Lord Stanley’s Cup to the Enterprise Center on Sunday. To think, the Cardinals’ famed Game 6 in the 2011 World Series could have company in regard to greatest games. Closing out a series, so many in sports say, is always the hardest task. But the Blues have two shots at it now. If they need the second one. It’s been a series defined by tough plays, starting in Game 1 when a helmet-less Torey Krug avoided a charging penalty and obliterated Blues rookie Robert Thomas, who hasn’t played since. But a non-call in Game 5 will be remembered – Tyler Bozak’s arguable trip on Noel Acciari. There wasn’t a call, and the Blues scored in the following seconds. The crowd booed, threw items onto the ice, and booed some more. The Bruins got the goal back with 6:28 left, but that only cut the lead to 2-1. With about two minutes left, the Bruins had a near-chance to score, but Carl Gunnarsson, the same Blue who scored the overtime winner in Boston, got his stick in the crease to stop a puck from slipping in. The loud Boston fans, naturally, cheered and cheered (and cheered) for

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

Blues center Ryan O’Reilly looks for a teammate in front of the net during the second period Thursday night. O’Reilly scored the first goal, his third of the series.

Chara. Zdeno Chara, the towering captain, played with a reported broken jaw and inspired the city in the way Willis Reed did New York, coming out for Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals. The first period was exactly what the Blues didn’t want – Boston creating offense, peppering Jordan Binnington and even getting a power play. But the Blues

survived and kept it scoreless. The Bruins utilized the final line change and a booming crowd to confuse the Blues. Boston tallied 17 shots in the first period and created 13 categorized scoring chances, per NaturalStattrick.com. Though the Blues tallied seven shots and all were scoring chances. When the Blues shot, they were high-quality

shots. Credit the Blues coaches and players for the infusion of energy and strategy. Before the Olympia ice resurfacer could be completely parked, the Blues already had a breakaway, thanks to the intense speed of Vladimir Tarasenko. He couldn’t score, but the statement was made. The Blues were rejuvenated. Forty seconds later … goal. Ryan O’Reilly scored it, but we’ll remember it because of the Zach Sanford pass. Backhand – between his legs … and the defender’s. O’Reilly did the rest. As the period extended, the Blues didn’t have the same offensive prowess, but the Blues smothered the Bruins’ time and space, time and again. Boston only had eight shots in the second period. Sanford’s story is incredible. He grew up a Bruins fan in New Hampshire. He said Thursday morning that his parents decorated the basement with a lot of Bruins stuff – including the famous Bobby Orr photo, against the Blues, from the 1970 Stanley Cup Final. Sanford even ran a victory lap in his buddy’s neighborhood after the Bruins won the Cup in 2011. But now he’s a Blue. And his father died right before this season began. Now Sanford is playing in the Cup Final against his boyhood heroes. The Blues have struggled on the penalty kill during the Final – of Boston’s 15 goals, only six had come five-on-five. But after two periods, the Blues killed both penalties, and the second one, holy moly, the Blues looked like the Bruins. It took Boston nearly 80 seconds to even get set up in the Blues defensive zone. With less than a minute left in the second period, Boston’s David Krejci found himself alone in front of the goal, while the Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo had a direct shot. Krejci saved the puck with his body, an amazing play. Earlier this series, passionate Blues fan Jon Hamm was asked about his childhood St. Louis sports fandom. The Emmy-winning actor from “Mad Men” put the Blues winning the Cup in perspective by comparing it to his childhood as a Cardinals fan. “In ‘82,” he said, “my dad took me to Game 1 and Game 7. We lost Game 1 and won Game 7. I didn’t know what to do. I was a Cardinal fan in the 1970s – I didn’t think we were ever going to go to the World Series, much less win it. I was just kind of running around, I didn’t know what to do, randomly screaming. No one did! I think if this happens, it’s going to be that times infinity.”

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STANLEY CUP FINAL

06.07.2019 • FRIDAY • M 2

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S5

WHAT NERVES?

Binnington puts long-suffering fans, like Federko, on Cup doorstep BENJAMIN HOCHMAN St. Louis Post-Dispatch

J

BOSTON

ordan Binnington stood in a quiet TD Garden hallway plastered with posterboards, decorated with wellwishes for the Bruins by sweet schoolchildren whose souls this man had crushed. He had just stopped 38 of 39 Boston shots, won Game 5 on the road and said live on ESPN, when asked what makes him nervous, that “when you find out, you let me know.” And now, the Blues goalie was here, all alone, asked to put it all in perspective. “I’m a loyal guy,” Binnington said softy, talking about both St. Louis and the Blues. “The fan base is incredible. I love being part of a team. As a goalie, you just try to be there for when the team needs you, and trust them to do their job – and they’ve been incredible. I’m happy I could be of help for them. … We have each other’s backs.” In the latest biggest game in franchise history, Binnngton had everyone’s back. Blues 2, Bruins 1. The Blues will host Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, and if the Blues win they win the Stanley Cup. It’s unbelievable. It’s unfathomable. It’s happening. The fellows with the white gloves will bring Lord Stanley’s Cup to the Enterprise Center on Sunday. Magical words in St. Louis. The night before Game 5, on the quiet, narrow streets on Boston’s old Italian area, noise spilled out of one of the North End restaurants. Just what was going on in there? As you walked closer, you began to make out the sound. Could it be? Yep, it was “Gloria.” And inside, there was Blues legend Bernie Federko, the Hall of Famer, a great grin across his famous face. He was responsible for the request – talked the owner into it – and Federko and some other Blues folks soaked it all in. A night later, so did all of St. Louis. Now, closing out a series, so many in sports say, is always the hardest task. But the Blues have two shots at it now. Or they might not need them both. “We’ve got a job to do here,” captain Alex Pietrangelo said, when asked about the emotions building toward Game 6. “We still have to win our next game. We still have a lot of things that we can get

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

Blues center Ryan O’Reilly looks for a teammate in front of the net during the second period Thursday night. O’Reilly scored the first goal, his third of the series.

better at. I know you’re probably looking for some big emotion – and don’t get me wrong, we’re all happy we’re in this spot – but we’ll take tonight and regroup tomorrow and get ready for Sunday.”

The Blues sure don’t want to return back to Boston, where they got away with a trip and ran away with Game 5 in their sweaty hockey bags. It’s been a series defined by tough plays, starting all the way back to Game

1, when a helmet-less Torey Krug avoided a charging penalty and obliterated Blues rookie Robert Thomas, who hasn’t played since. But a non-call in Game 5 will be remembered – Tyler Bozak’s arguable trip on Noel Acciari. There wasn’t a call, and the Blues scored in the following seconds. The TD Garden crowd booed, threw items onto the ice, and booed some more. The Bruins got the goal back with 6:28 left, but that only cut the lead to 2-1, ultimately the final score. The Blues bruise. They’re tough, unfazed, and they throw four lines at opponents – basically, they’re out-Bostoning Boston. “It wasn’t our best game of the series, but sometimes your goalie is going to make some big saves, especially early on to change the momentum,” Pietrangelo said. “He did that, and I thought we played a lot better in the second period there. We had some good looks.” The first period was exactly what the Blues didn’t want – Boston creating offense, peppering Binnington and even getting a power play. But the Blues survived and kept it scoreless. Credit the coaches and players for the infusion of energy and strategy. Before the Olympia ice resurfacer could be parked following the first intermission, the Blues already had a breakaway chance, thanks to the intense speed of Vladimir Tarasenko. He didn’t score, but the statement was made. The Blues were rejuvenated. Forty second later … goal. Ryan O’Reilly scored it, but we’ll remember it because of the Zach Sanford pass. Backhand. Between his legs … and the defender’s. O’Reilly did the rest. David Perron, a hated Blue in Boston, scored the winning goal. The Blues are coming home with a chance to win their first Cup. Earlier this series, passionate Blues fan Jon Hamm was asked about his childhood St. Louis sports fandom. The Emmy-winning actor from “Mad Men” put the Blues winning the Cup in perspective by comparing it to his childhood as a Cardinals fan. “In ‘82,” he said, “my dad took me to Game 1 and Game 7. We lost Game 1 and won Game 7. I didn’t know what to do. I was a Cardinal fan in the 1970s – I didn’t think we were ever going to go to the World Series, much less win it. I was just kind of running around, I didn’t know what to do, randomly screaming. No one did! I think if this happens, it’s going to be that times infinity.”

LGB

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*$2,021

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S6 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL

M 1 • FrIDAy • 06.07.2019

SCENES FROM GAME 5

Blues forward Ryan O’Reilly flips a puck to a young fan before the start of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday at TD Garden in Boston.

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Mike Dixon of Belleville cheers during the watch party at Enterprise Center, which hosted another sellout crowd.

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Crystal Peairs watches nervously during the first period at the Enterprise Center watch party.

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

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Andi Malick, left, celebrates with Nina and Charlie Harris after Ryan O’Reilly scored early in the second period.

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

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington gets some help from defenseman Vince Dunn in clearing a puck from the front of the net during the second period of Game 5 on Thursday at TD Garden. Binnington stopped 37 of 38 shots in the Blues’ 2-1 victory.

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S6 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL

M 2 • FrIDAy • 06.07.2019

SCENES FROM GAME 5

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

Blues players congratulate goalie Jordan Binnington after their 2-1 win Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston. Binnington stopped 38 shots in his 15th win of the postseason.

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Kelly Copein dances in her “Gloria” shirt while celebrating the Blues’ 2-1 victory with friends at Duke’s Bar in Soulard on Thursday night.

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Vincent Schmitz, left, and Ben Gliedt celebrate David Perron’s goal Thursday at the Enterprise Center watch party for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Blues could win the franchise’s first Cup on home ice Sunday.

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Fans react to David Perron’s goal while watching the game at Duke’s Bar in Soulard.

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

Boston’s Charlie McAvoy ties up Blues forward Jaden Schwartz on Thursday at TD Garden. The Bruins outhit the Blues 43-34 in Game 5.

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

David Perron tries to get to a loose puck in front of Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask early in Game 5. Perron scored midway through the third period to give the Blues a 2-0 lead.


STANLEY CUP FINAL

06.07.2019 • Friday • M 1

ST. LOUiS POST-diSPaTCH • S7

NOTEBOOK

LEADERSHIP FROM CHARA

42-year-old captain plays through pain; Backes is a healthy scratch BY TOM TIMMERMANN St. Louis Post-dispatch

BOSTON • Zdeno Chara took a puck to the face in the second period of Game 4, may have broken his jaw, and on Thursday night, he was back in the lineup for Game 5. Fellow defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, out since entering the concussion protocol after a hit by Oskar Sundqvist in Game 2, did not return to the lineup. With uncertainty over how much Chara would be able to play, the Bruins dressed seven defensemen, also sending out Steven Kampfer. That meant Boston had to drop a forward, and former Blues captain David Backes was the odd man out. Chara’s status was the mystery of the day. He took the ice for the team’s optional morning skate, moving at half speed through practice. Coach Bruce Cassidy said Chara and Grzelcyk would be game-time decisions. Grzelcyk spoke to the media and said, “If I’m in, I’m going to be ready to play and I’ll be excited to join the guys again.” Chara, meanwhile, couldn’t speak. He answered, in writing, two questions asked by the Professional Hockey Writers Association through the Bruins public relations staff. Q: What’s your biggest challenge in skating with this type of injury? A: “At this time of the playoffs, everyone has injuries and there are challenges that you have to overcome to play. I’m no different than any player on either team.” Q: How do you weigh the risk of further injury when deciding whether to play? A: “You don’t think about that. You think about playing. You don’t go into a game thinking you might get hurt.” Just his presence on the ice in the morning was enough to spur on his teammates. “When you hear the stories of how he was brought up,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said, “he was brought up as a tough, hard-working person. Very respectful. So it doesn’t surprise me at all to see him — I don’t think it surprised anyone to see him out there. He wants to win more than anything, and he shows that every single night. You never know what he’s playing through — he keeps everything quiet and to him, and he’s not worried about complaining about injuries or anything like that. He’s willing to play with one leg, one arm.

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

Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara battles for a puck against Vladimir Tarasenko during the first period of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday. Speculation after Game 4 was that a broken jaw would keep Chara from skating for the remainder of the series.

It doesn’t matter. He’s out there working as hard as he can and sacrificing his body because he knows, at the end of the day, you win — it’s worth everything you go through. Not everyone has that. You can’t teach that, you can’t push that on people. It’s either in you or it’s not. He’s able to play through pain — a lot more pain than most people. Probably anyone in this league. It’s incredible to see. I know I couldn’t do what he does. So you have a lot of respect for him, watching what he puts himself through and how he just goes about his business.” “Much is made of his professionalism, his toughness, his approach,” defenseman John Moore said. “But until you see that in the flesh, you have a whole other level of appreciation for it. The guy’s 42. When I’m 42, I’m cer-

tainly not going to be the first guy in the gym, weighing all my food, squatting the most on the team. Those are all the things you respect. You throw in the fact that what he’s going through — that’s something I’ll tell my kids about. Life lessons I’ll carry long beyond hockey.” Chara got a thunderous and extended ovation when he was introduced in the starting lineup before the game, standing on the ice with a helmet with a football-style mouth guard but no visor. In the morning, he skated with a full visor. Backes had played just 9:09 in Game 4, the least ice time for any Bruin other than Chara. He had no points in the first four games and was a healthy scratch earlier in the playoffs, for the last two games of the first-round series with Toronto and the first three games of the next round with Columbus.

CONVENIENT STOP

Playing in a Stanley Cup Final has been a big thrill for Blues forward Zach Sanford, and it’s also been pretty convenient since he grew up in the Boston area and his family is still here. “It’s pretty cool,” he said. “They don’t really have too travel to go to the away games. My family’s been at all the games so far, even when I haven’t played. So they’ve been so supportive.” He’s also heard from friends he grew up with. “I’ve even gotten some texts they hope I do well but they want to the Bruins to win,” he said. “But I think they’re slowly shifting over to becoming Blues fans.” Tom Timmermann • 314-340-8190 @tomtimm on Twitter ttimmermann@post-dispatch.com

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S8 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • FrIDAy • 06.07.2019

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