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STA N LEY CU P FI NA L EDIT ION

MONDAY • 06.10.2019 • $2.50

5

GAME 6

SERIES TIED

1

ALL TIED UP

Blues lose big; Series to be decided in Boston

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

The Blues’ Zach Sanford (12) is tied up by the Bruins’ Brandon Carlo (25) and David Krejci in front of the Boston goal during the first period of Game 6 on Sunday night at Enterprise Center.

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

6/1 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

Sun. at Blues Bos 104 — 5 Stl 00 1 — 1 GWG: Carlo

GAME 7

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

Subscribe for every cold, icy detail at STLtoday.com/subscribenow TODAY’S COMPLETE NEWSPAPER INSIDE STANLEY CUP FINAL EDITION Vol. 141, No. 161 ©2019

1 M


STA N LEY CU P FI NA L EDIT ION

MONDAY • 06.10.2019 • $2.50

5

GAME 6

SERIES TIED 3-3

1

ALL TIED UP

Blues lose big; Series to be decided in Boston

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

The Blues’ Zach Sanford (12) is tied up by the Bruins’ Brandon Carlo (25) and David Krejci in front of the Boston goal during the first period of Game 6 on Sunday night at Enterprise Center.

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

6/1 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

Sun. at Blues Bos 104 — 5 Stl 00 1 — 1 GWG: Carlo

GAME 7

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

Subscribe for every cold, icy detail at STLtoday.com/subscribenow TODAY’S COMPLETE NEWSPAPER INSIDE STANLEY CUP FINAL EDITION Vol. 141, No. 161 ©2019

2 M


STANLEY CUP FINAL

S2 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

5

GAME 6

SERIES TIED 3-3

M 1 • MOnDAy • 06.10.2019

1

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

The Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron (37) celebrates next to Blues goalie Jordan Binnington and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester after Brad Marchand scored in the first period.

BRUINS FORCE A GAME 7

Boston strong in spoiling Blues’ first bid for Cup BRUINS 5, BLUES 1 Boston St. Louis

1 0

0 0

4 1

— —

5 1

First Period Bos: Marchand 9 (Krug, Pastrnak), 8:40 (pp). Penalties: Kuraly, BOS, (delay of game), 2:42; Schenn, STL, (boarding), 7:17; O’Reilly, STL, (delay of game), 8:19; Chara, BOS, (interference), 18:21. Second Period None. Penalties: Marchand, BOS, (tripping), 9:11; McAvoy, BOS, (tripping), 13:43. Third Period Bos: Carlo 2 (DeBrusk), 2:31. Bos: Kuhlman 1 (Krejci), 10:15. Blues: O’Reilly 7 (Pietrangelo, Perron), 12:01. Bos: Pastrnak 9 (Marchand, Kuraly), 14:06. Bos: Chara 2, 17:41. Penalties: Blais, STL, (slashing), 19:38; Blais, STL, served by Sanford, (roughing), 19:38; Clifton, BOS, (roughing), 19:38; Bortuzzo, STL, Misconduct (misconduct), 19:43; Bortuzzo, STL, (cross checking), 19:43. Shots on Goal 12 Boston 9 Blues

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko draws a tripping penalty by Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy during the second period. BY JIM THOMAS St. Louis Post-Dispatch

T

he moment was there. The bright and shiny Cup in the house. Anticipation high. The 51-year wait almost over. It’s not over yet. The Boston Bruins spoiled the party Sunday night before 18,890 at Enterprise Center, defeating the Blues 5-1. The Bruins were opportunistic on offense and air-tight on defense. When challenged by the Blues, goalie Tuukka Rask was more than up to the challenge. So this Stanley Cup Final series is now tied 3-3 with a deciding Game 7 set for Wednesday at TD Garden in Boston. No matter what, Sunday marked the final game at Enterprise this season. Nothing has come easy for the Blues this season, and that’s certainly been the case in the postseason. The Blues were down 2-1 in the Western Conference Final against San Jose after the Hand Pass game — and won the next three. They were down 3-2 against Dallas in Round 2, and facing Game 6 at American Airlines Center, and won the next two games to close out the series. In Round 1 after losing twice at home, they were down 2-0 in Winnipeg with Robert Thomas in the penalty box for a four-minute high-sticking penalty, but pulled out Game 5 and then the Game 6 clincher in St. Louis. Now they must win a Game 7 in Boston to win their first Stanley Cup ever.

Jordan Binnington has been stellar on the road this postseason, but so has Boston’s Rask. He entered Sunday’s game 7-3 on the road these playoffs, with a .947 save percentage and a 1.81 goal-against average. Make that 8-3 for Rask away from home after Sunday’s Boston victory. Boston scored on a power play in the first period, but the score remained just 1-0 Bruins after two periods. The Bruins broke the game open in the third period on two shots that Binnington normally stops. First came a Brandon Carlo goal just 2:31 into the period on a bouncing long-distance shot that trickled by Binnington, bounced off the post and in. That made it a 2-0 game. Nearly eight minutes later, Karson Kuhlman made it 3-0 with a shot that beat Binnington far side. It was the first career playoff goal for the 23-year old Kuhlman. Ryan O’Reilly gave the Blues brief life when his seventh goal of the playoffs and fourth in three games cut the Boston lead to 3-1 with eight minutes to play. But there was no rally in the making. David Pastrnak scored two minutes later, giving the Bruins’ top line their first even-strength goal of the series. Then Zdeno Chara scored an emptynetter with 2:19 left to make it 5-1. Special teams have been a problem for the Blues throughout this series, and that continued to be the case Sunday. By the end of the second period, the Blues had gone through four power-play opportunities, without a goal. That put their tally at 1-for-18 with

the man advantage in this series. Meanwhile, the Bruins were at 7-for-21. Without the special teams edge, the Bruins would not be in this series. It’s not as if the Blues didn’t have chances Sunday with the man advantage. Twelve of their 19 shots through two periods were on the power play, but no goals. As has frequently been the case when their power play struggles, they were frequently too deliberate and too choosy with their shot selection. On one of those shots, off Rask’s back, the Boston goalie somehow reached around his back and managed to trap the puck against his back. Literally a behind-the-back save. In an evenly-played second period, both teams had chances. Brayden Schenn’s one-timer was snagged by Rask with a high glove at the 10:18 mark. Early in the period, Danton Heinen was sprung by a stretch pass on a breakaway but the puck rolled off his stick in close and Binnington didn’t even have to make a save. Speaking of Binnington, he had one of those interesting moments of his just after Brad Marchand was being called for tripping Alex Pietrangelo at the 9:11 mark. Binnington skated up to center ice and gave Pastrnak a nudge. The Blues had the momentum early, outshooting Boston 5-1 in the first six minutes of play, a stretch that included an early power play when Boston’s Sean Kuraly was sent to the box for delay of game after sending the puck over the glass.

8 10

12 10

— —

32 29

Power play Boston 1 of 2; St. Louis 0 of 4. Goaltenders Boston, Rask 14-8 (29 shots-28 saves). St. Louis, Binnington 15-9 (31-27). T: 2:36. Referees: Gord Dwyer, Chris Rooney. Linesmen: Derek Amell, Scott Cherrey.

But then the Blues were guilty of doing something they swore not to do — take a silly penalty. Schenn was sent to the box for boarding Joakim Nordstrom. If that weren’t bad enough, just 62 seconds later it became a 5-on-3 power play when O’Reilly sent the puck over the glass for a delay penalty. Moments earlier, O’Reilly had a shorthanded breakaway during 5-on-4 play but the puck rolled off his stick as he was attempting to shoot at Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. Just 21 seconds into that 5-on-3 caused by the O’Reilly penalty, Marchand beat Binnington with a one-timer backdoor from the right faceoff circle. When Marchand scores in the playoffs, the Bruins are 24-1, so this definitely didn’t fall into the category of a good omen for the Blues. The Bruins were energized by the early lead, outhooting the Blues 9-0 over a three-minute stretch midway through the period. But the Blues regrouped late in the period with zone time and late power-play chance when Chara was called for interference against David Perron. Jim Thomas @jthom1 on Twitter jthomas@post-dispatch.com


STANLEY CUP FINAL

S2 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

5

GAME 6

SERIES TIED 3-3

M 2 • MOnDAy • 06.10.2019

1

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

The Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron (37) celebrates next to Blues goalie Jordan Binnington and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester after Brad Marchand scored in the first period.

BRUINS FORCE A GAME 7

Boston strong in spoiling Blues’ first bid for Cup BRUINS 5, BLUES 1 Boston St. Louis

1 0

0 0

4 1

— —

5 1

First Period Bos: Marchand 9 (Krug, Pastrnak), 8:40 (pp). Penalties: Kuraly, BOS, (delay of game), 2:42; Schenn, STL, (boarding), 7:17; O’Reilly, STL, (delay of game), 8:19; Chara, BOS, (interference), 18:21. Second Period None. Penalties: Marchand, BOS, (tripping), 9:11; McAvoy, BOS, (tripping), 13:43. Third Period Bos: Carlo 2 (DeBrusk), 2:31. Bos: Kuhlman 1 (Krejci), 10:15. Blues: O’Reilly 7 (Pietrangelo, Perron), 12:01. Bos: Pastrnak 9 (Marchand, Kuraly), 14:06. Bos: Chara 2, 17:41. Penalties: Blais, STL, (slashing), 19:38; Blais, STL, served by Sanford, (roughing), 19:38; Clifton, BOS, (roughing), 19:38; Bortuzzo, STL, Misconduct (misconduct), 19:43; Bortuzzo, STL, (cross checking), 19:43. Shots on Goal 12 Boston 9 Blues COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko draws a tripping penalty by Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy during the second period. BY JIM THOMAS St. Louis Post-Dispatch

T

he moment was there. The bright and shiny Stanley Cup in the house. Anticipation high. The 51-year wait almost over. It’s not over yet. The Boston Bruins spoiled the party Sunday night, defeating the Blues 5-1 at Enterprise Center. The Bruins were opportunistic on offense and air-tight on defense. When challenged by the Blues, goalie Tuukka Rask was up to the challenge. So this Stanley Cup Final series is now tied 3-3 with a deciding Game 7 Wednesday at TD Garden in Boston. “Listen, if you told me four months ago we were going to be in the Finals in Game 7, I think I’d take it,” coach Craig Berube said. “We’ve been a good road team. We’ve won twice up there in this series, so we’re a confident group.” Nothing has come easy for the Blues this season, and that’s certainly the case this postseason. The Blues were down two games to one in the Western Conference Final against San Jose after the Hand Pass game - and won the next three. They were down 3-2 against Dallas in Round 2 and facing elimination in Game 6 at American Airlines Center. They won the next two to close out the series. Even in Round 1 against Winnipeg they were in danger of losing their third game in row, but rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the third period for a Game 5 win and then won the series in six.

Now they must win a Game 7 in Boston to win their first Stanley Cup ever. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us and we’re confident,” said Ryan O’Reilly, who scored the Blues’ only goal. “We’re a great road team. That’s our story. We gotta get it done on the road.” But for the seventh time in 13 postseason home games, the Blues couldn’t get it done at Enterprise. It certainly wasn’t for lack of fan support. “It was crazy,” David Perron said. “We stayed at the hotel (near Enterprise) in the afternoon, and you could hear people honking and yelling, ‘Let’s Go Blues!’ You could see people walking up and down the street. It was a cool sighting. ...” As the final seconds ticked down on Sunday, the crowd of 18,890 chanted “Let’s Go Blues!” and “We Want the Cup!” after the team’s final home game of the season. Don’t confuse this game with the Blues’ 7-2 shellacking in Game 3 here June 1. The Blues had a good start, gave up a 5-on-3 power-play goal 8 minutes 40 seconds into play, but trailed only 1-0 entering the third period. “I thought it was an even game, really,” Berube said. “Two periods, it’s tight hockey. There’s not a lot of room out there. “I’ll credit Boston. They played well. They checked well. They didn’t give us a ton of room out there. I didn’t think we gave them much either. Can we play better? Yeah, we can play better. But I thought we handled the pressure (of the moment) pretty well.” The game - and the Cup were there for

the taking as the period began. But the Blues couldn’t take them. Just 2 1/2 minutes into the third, Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo sent a knucklepuck toward Jordan Binnington from just inside the blueline. It took a bad hop as it approached Binnington and went in for a 2-0 lead. It was a huge goal, especially considering how well Rask and the Boston defense were playing. Binnington was testy when asked what happened on the goal. “Did you watch it?” Binnington asked a reporter. (Yes, was the reply.) “Did it bounce?” Binnington asked. (Yes, was the reply.) “Good eye,” Binnington said. Midway through the third, it became 3-0 Boston when 23-year-old Karson Kuhlman beat Binnington far side. O’Reilly gave the Blues a pulse when his fourth goal in three games trimmed the lead to 3-1. But just two minutes later, with 5:54 left to play, David Pastrnak scored the first even-strength goal of the series for the Bruins’ top line - the “Perfection Line” it’s called. And that was it for Game 6, with Zdeno Chara adding an empty-netter with 2:19 left to close out the scoring. “It obviously wasn’t good enough,” O’Reilly said of the Blues’ performance. “Obviously not the start that we wanted. Bad play by myself there to take the penalty there to take it to 5-on-3. “It took the wind out of our sails and it took too long for us to climb back in. Their second goal was a lucky bounce. Just kind

8 10

12 10

— —

32 29

Power play Boston 1 of 2; St. Louis 0 of 4. Goaltenders Boston, Rask 14-8 (29 shots-28 saves). St. Louis, Binnington 15-9 (31-27). T: 2:36. Referees: Gord Dwyer, Chris Rooney. Linesmen: Derek Amell, Scott Cherrey.

of bounced up on Binner. Not much we could do there. We just didn’t respond the right way.” Given the potent Boston power play,the Blues have stressed all series the importance of staying out of the box and avoiding silly penalties. Well, Brayden Schenn was sent to the box for boarding at the 7:17 mark of the first, and then 62 seconds later O’Reilly joined him - sending the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty. After just 21 seconds of 5-on-3 play, the Bruins were on the board on Brad Marchand’s back-door one-timer. Special teams have been a problem for the Blues throughout this series, and Sunday was no different. The Blues went 0-for-4 on the power play, running their tally to 1-for-18 for the series. Meanwhile, the Bruins are 7-for-21 on the power play this series. Without the special teams domination, this series would be over and the Blues would be Cup champions. “We had 12 shots (on the power play),” Berube said. “We did have momentum, we had some good looks. We didn’t score. Rask made some good saves. Can it be better? Yeah, it has to be better. ... We’ve definitely got to bury a couple.”


06.10.2019 • Monday • M 1

STANLEY CUP FINAL

ST. LoUIS PoST-dISPaTCH • S3


STANLEY CUP FINAL

S4 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • MONDAY • 06.10.2019

LOST OPPORTUNITY

Blues fall flat against Boston, but storybook ending can still be written BENJAMIN HOCHMAN St. Louis Post-Dispatch

S

tanley … has left the building. The moment suffocated the St. Louis Blues. Sure, Boston played well. Whatever. The Blues – be it their crucial turnovers, poor power-play execution or frightening mistakes by goalie Jordan Binnington – blew it. Bruins 5, Blues 1. There will be a Game 7. To think of what opportunity they missed out on. It could have been the greatest sports moment this city has ever seen – or, at least, as Tony La Russa used to say, “tied for first” with the David Freese Game 6. Instead, on the cusp of the Cup, the Blues couldn’t rise to the moment. Can the Blues win Game 7? Why not? But the Blues hosted Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final with the Stanley Cup in the building … and lost. The optimist says that the Blues seem to rise to moments of adversity. They’ve dominated on the road all postseason. And this is a storybook season, we keep saying. While winning it at home would have been sweet for St. Louis, to finish off this bizarre season, how about winning the Stanley Cup on the road in Game 7? OK, enough of the optimism for a moment. The Stanley Cup was in St. Louis, in the bowels of Enterprise Center ready to be hoisted, but the Blues couldn’t make Stanley show his face. The Blues were inconsistent in their play. The Blues missed the heavy hitting of the suspended Ivan Barbashev. The Blues got dinged on a rough goal to start the scoring. A 5-on-3 in the Stanley Cup Final? How does this happen? It happens because the first penalty was a really careless play – Brayden Schenn driving a defenseless Joachim Nordstrom into the boards from behind – which put the Blues shorthanded and eventually led to Ryan O’Reilly sending the puck out of play for a delay-of-game call. Notorious pest Brad Marchand netted the goal, which made it even more painful for Blues fans. The second goal by Boston was Buckner’d. After Jake DeBrusk battled hard to keep the puck in the Blues’ zone – with a little help from a convenient bounce off an official – Brandon Carlo’s bouncing shot took a bad hop, shooting up and essentially through Blues goalie Jordan Binnington. Brutal. Still, how about Tuukka Rask? On Tuukka’s mask, ferocious fangs hang, painted on the crown of his helmet. But when Rask’s eyes bulge below, through the cage, it’s his glare that becomes the focus of ferociousness. With his .938 save percentage in 23 playoff games, Rask is the best goalie in the postseason so far. And that’s saying something, considering St. Louis has experienced the impervious, never-nervous play of Binnington. But the Bruins’ Rask has been resplendent. Not since 2012 has a goaltender won the Conn Smythe, but if the Bruins pull this off, Rask will likely win it. And there he was Sunday in St. Louis, impenetrable. The Blues were a deluge of scoring opportunities, notably in the first two periods. Yet Rask didn’t allow a goal until eight minutes remained. Locked in. The Blues had 10 high-danger opportunities in the first two periods alone, and not one was netted. “When he’s on, he’s really on,” said Blues forward Zach Sanford, a New England kid who was in high school when the Bruins won the Cup in 2011. “He’s super athletic. He’s good at getting to different areas, and he reads the plays really well. A lot of goalies do now, but he’s on another level with that. The cross-ice pass that another goalie might not see coming, he sees coming all the time.” Rask’s dedication and resilience permeates through the Bruins. “He sees the puck really well, he’s

COLTEN PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Blues forward Brayden Schenn drives Boston’s Joachim Nordstrom into the boards for a penalty in the first period of Game 6.

J.B. FORBES • P-D

Ryan O’Reilly scores the Blues’ only goal of Game 6, a shot that barely cleared the line against Tuukka Rask and had to be reviewed by officials to be confirmed.

good side-to-side, he handles his rebounds really well,” said Blues center Tyler Bozak, who has played against Rask in the postseason for St. Louis and Toronto. Tuukka’s wrath? It used to be something of lore. Maybe not in a good way. In an AHL game in 2009, after a controversial loss, he chopped his stick against a post and then, after going into the locker room, returned with some crates and threw those on the ice, too. “I think those days are past, I like to stay more calm,” Rask said from the Bruins’ locker room during this series. “It doesn’t do any good to get your blood pressure up.” Well, in the biggest game of his life, Rask was incredible. He stopped 28 of 29 shots, including one with his back. And so, we head to Boston. For the first time ever, in this city of champions, the Bruins will host a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. This Bruins team is a team, to be sure. With the goal Sunday by Karson Kuhlman, 21 Bruins have now scored in this postseason. But the scary thing is that their top line got shakin’ on Sunday. It’s going to be the biggest game in St. Louis hockey history. But at this moment, it sure feels ominous. Benjamin Hochman @hochman on Twitter bhochman@post-dispatch.com

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LET’S GO

BLUES

TEAM PHYSICIANS for the ST. LOUIS BLUES and YOU


S4 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL

M 2 • MONDAY • 06.10.2019

TUUKKA’S WRATH

Led by brilliant goalie, Bruins deny St. Louis another Game 6 memory BENJAMIN HOCHMAN St. Louis Post-Dispatch

S

tanley … has left the building. “Game 6” still belongs solely to the Cardinals. Sure, Boston played well. Whatever. The Blues – be it their crucial turnovers, a lack of power-play execution or a couple surprising misses by Jordan Binnington – blew it. Boston 5, St. Louis 1. There will be a Game 7. To think of what opportunity they missed out on. It could have been the greatest sports moment this city has seen – or, at least, as Tony La Russa used to say, “tied for first” with the David Freese Game 6. Instead, on the cusp of the Cup, the Blues couldn’t rise to the moment. This is a painful sentence to type and surely to read: The Blues hosted Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final with the Stanley Cup in the building – and lost. “We were just a little too loose there in the third,” forward Ryan O’Reilly said. And they’re left with a smorgasbord of reasons why they’re going back to Boston. The Bruins ruined the party by playing heavier hockey – precisely what was anticipated from the home team. The Blues just didn’t play their game. Asked if the Blues weren’t as physical as in previous wins, Jay Bouwmeester’s short answer actually spoke volumes: “Ah, I don’t know – hard to say,” and then looked to other reporters to ask new questions. The Blues could have used Ivan Barbashev, the bulldozing fourth-liner who was suspended for Game 6 due to a hit in Game 5. Sure, Sammy Blais had four hits filling in on that line, but “Barbie” sometimes tallies twice that number. Oh, and Blais turned the puck over on the dagger-like fourth goal Sunday. And when the Blues tried to get aggressive, they were occasionally careless – such as Brayden Schenn’s boarding penalty that led to the first goal. In other uncharacteristic performances, how about the forecheck? It wasn’t as good as it had been – even though the Blues had the matchups they wanted at home, as well as the return of Robert Thomas to the forechecking force that is the line with Pat Maroon and Tyler Bozak. “I didn’t think we dumped pucks in very well,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “I thought we put pucks to bad areas, whether our forwards didn’t softchip it enough and get it to good areas where we could get on it and be physical. I didn’t think we got in there quick enough and won enough battles on our forecheck. There were a lot of battles there, but we lost too many of them.” And then to think – the second goal by Boston was Buckner’d. After Jake DeBrusk battled hard to keep the puck in the Blues’ zone – with a little help from a convenient bounce off an official – Brandon Carlo’s bouncing shot suddenly shot up – and essentially through the goalie Binnington. After the game, Berube was steadfast that the bounce was “lucky.” But after all of these reasons why the Blues couldn’t play up to the moment, one wonders if none of it matters, because the Bruins’ goalie was impervious and impenetrable. With his .938 save percentage, Tuukka Rask is the best goalie in the postseason so far, and that’s saying something, considering St. Louis has experienced quite a run with Binnington. But the Bruins’ Rask has been resplendent. Not since 2012 has a goaltender won the Conn Smythe, but if the Bruins pull this off, Rask will likely win it. “When he’s on, he’s really on,” said Blues forward Zach Sanford, a New England kid who was in high school when the Bruins won the Cup in 2011. “He’s super-athletic. He’s good at getting to different areas, and he reads the plays really well. A lot of goalies do now, but he’s on another level with that. The cross-ice

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

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask gets help from Charlie McAvoy in keeping the puck out of the net while the Blues’ Jaden Schwartz looks for a rebound.

J.B. FORBES • P-D

Ryan O’Reilly scores the Blues’ only goal of Game 6, a shot that barely cleared the line against Tuukka Rask and had to be reviewed by officials to be confirmed.

pass that another goalie might not see coming, he sees coming all the time.” Rask’s dedication and resilience permeates through the Bruins. Tuukka’s wrath? It used to be something of lore. Maybe not in a good way. In an AHL game in 2009, after a controversial loss, he chopped his stick against a post and then, after going into the locker room, returned with some crates and threw those on the ice, too. “I think those days are past, I like to stay more calm,” Rask said from the locker room during this series. “It doesn’t do any good to get your blood pressure up.” Well, on Sunday in St. Louis, in one of the biggest games of his life, Rask was cool and calm. He stopped 28 of 29 shots, including one with his back (and a little help from friend Charlie McAvoy). And so, we head to Boston. For the first time ever, in this city of champions, the Bruins will host a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. It’s the 17th Cup Final to go to a final seventh game. The last one was won by Boston in 2011. This Bruins team is a team. With the goal Sunday by Karson Kuhlman, 21 Bruins have now scored in this postseason. A record. But the scary thing is that their top line started cooking on Sunday, too. You’ve heard this before – it’s going to be the biggest game in St. Louis hockey history. Some team is going to meet Stanley.

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LET’S GO

BLUES

TEAM PHYSICIANS for the ST. LOUIS BLUES and YOU


STANLEY CUP FINAL

06.10.2019 • MONDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S5

RASK UP TO THE TASK

Bruins goalie outplays Binnington, but it’s not time to panic for Blues BEN FREDERICKSON St. Louis Post-Dispatch

N

o one should be surprised. Disappointed? Of course. Just not surprised. It never has been easy for the Blues, and even though this season’s edition of the hometown hockey team has restored the spirits of the most hardened non-believers, coach Craig Berube’s guys have a dangerous habit of waiting until they are backed deep into a corner before they run through a wall. When they don’t have an inch of wiggle room, the Blues are a Stanley Cup caliber team. When they do have that inch, they tend to give it away as soon as they can. So, again, no one should be surprised. And no one should be panicking. Not yet. A team that saved its season on the road last winter now has to win Wednesday’s Game 7 in Boston to break the curse. There’s a poetry to it, if you can look past the party that was spoiled by Sunday night’s dud of a 5-1 loss. Bruins super pest Brad Marchand, star goalie Tuukka Rask and a desperate bunch of their spoked-B-wearing buddies pulled the plug on what would have been an unforgettable night in downtown St. Louis. The Blues didn’t blow it. Boston grabbed it and refused to let go. The Blues still can take the series. More on that in a moment. But first, it’s worth mentioning the biggest obstacle standing in the Blues’ way of a broken curse. He wears No. 40, and this best-of-seven series is headed back to Boston tied at three games each because he was a brick wall behind a mask of an animal possessed. Rask stopped 28 of 29 shots behind a stronger Bruins defense than the Blues have encountered in most of this series. When the Blues made it 3-1 on Ryan O’Reilly’s late goal, the Enterprise Center crowd found its life with just less than eight minutes left. But similar to Binnington in Game 5, Rask reapplied his choke hold. Binnington was no match on this night. He mimicked Rask through two periods but lost his grip in the third, when the Bruins took a 2-0 lead on a bouncing, knuckleball-like shot from Brandon Carlo.Binnington will want that one back, and he should. That the goal was sparked

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

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask gets help from Charlie McAvoy in keeping the puck out of the net while the Blues’ Jaden Schwartz looks for a rebound.

by a failed attempt to clear the puck should not be missed; the Blues struggled with that all night. That the puck bouncing off an on-ice official helped set the whole thing up is worth noting as well. It was that kind of a night, one that prompted some fans to head for the exits when Karson Kuhlman beat Binnington high and to his left to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead with 9:45 left in the third. It was the second soft goal of the period allowed by Binnington. The fourth, and third of the postseason, was alarming because it gave life to Boston star scorer David Pastrnak, who had been quiet in this series. The fifth came into an empty net, though by then it was hard to tell much of a difference. Just don’t blame Binnington for the first goal, the one that silenced a crowd ready to rip off the roof of the Enterprise Center. That one’s on Brayden Schenn. Schenn’s boarding penalty against Joakim Nordstrom should not be bemoaned by Blues fans. It was as foolish as the beer that was thrown onto the ice in the third. Schenn saw his opponent’s numbers for a mile as he neared the hit. The Boston

power play that was rightfully awarded changed the dynamic of the entire game. The delay-of-game penalty that followed gave the Bruins a chance the Blues could not afford, a three-on-five power play Binnington had slim chances of spoiling. Things were getting uncomfortable, and the Bruins player who thrives in these situations capitalized. Marchand, whose night was filled with trips and questionable hits, a leg whip of Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo and a stick to the face of David Perron, gave the Bruins a lead they never released. The Blues blanked on all four of their power plays, and that stands out on a night like this. But it also should be noted that this was as good as Boston has looked, and that should be as scary as anything to the Blues and their fans. Boston knows what it takes to win and lose the Stanley Cup. The Blues can’t possibly know. They have until Wednesday to figure it out. There are more positive signs than it seemed Sunday night.

The Blues have lost back-to-back games in the postseason just twice this year. That’s twice in 25 games. And get this: The Blues have not lost back-toback postseason games in more than a month. Back in the second round, they lost Game 4 and Game 5 to the Stars. They’re 9-4 since then, without backto-back losses since. Binnington is a beast coming off of a loss. The Blues .750 win percentage in the postseason is the best among any team that appeared in the postseason. Berube’s Blues found their identity on the road, during the 11-game winning streak in February that solidified their postseason push. From the dud of their regular-season opener, to their flat as Imo’s Stanley Cup Final home debut in Game 3, the only thing Game 6 really taught us is what we already knew. Big moments get to the Blues at home. Now their biggest moment ever comes on the road. They’re heading back to Boston, and their backs are back in the corner. No wiggle room.

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STANLEY CUP FINAL

06.10.2019 • MONDAY • M 2

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S5

DOWN, BUT NOT OUT

Blues disappoint, but have been resilient — especially on the road BEN FREDERICKSON St. Louis Post-Dispatch

F

or a team that is one win away from the biggest sports party this city ever has known, the Blues sure can be a buzzkill. Disappointing? Sure. Surprising? Goodness, no. Not to anyone who has been paying attention. It never has been easy for the Blues, and even though this season’s remarkably resilient team has restored the spirits of the most hardened non-believers, coach Craig Berube’s guys have this dangerous habit of waiting until they are backed deep into a corner before they run through a wall. When they don’t have an inch of wiggle room, the Blues play like a team that is worthy of the Stanley Cup. When they do have that inch, they tend to give it away as soon as they can. Especially when that game is played at home. Their 5-1 loss to the Bruins on Sunday night in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final is the most painful example, but far from the first. This dates back to the dud of the regular-season opener. It reminded of the Game 3 flop on June 1. So, again, no one should be surprised. And no one should be panicking. The truth is the Blues tend to be at their best on the road, where they solidified their regular-season surge from last in the NHL standings on the morning of Jan. 3, to the first team in any of the four major North American sports (NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL) to launch to the championship contest after touching the bottom of the standings after the season’s quarter mark. They also tend to be at their best coming off of a beating. So, both boxes are checked for Wednesday’s Game 7 in Boston. There’s a poetry to it, if you can look past the party that was spoiled Sunday. Can you imagine the scene if the tens of thousands of fans who swarmed downtown and the thousands who spent thousands to get into the building would not have gone home downtrodden? The Blues can’t win the Stanley Cup at home. They can still win it. A parade down Market Street would make up for Game 6. That’s if the Blues can continue to follow the bounce-back blueprint that led

COLTEN PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Blues forward Brayden Schenn drives Boston’s Joachim Nordstrom into the boards for a penalty in the first period of Game 6 on Sunday night.

them this far. The Bruins were amazing in Games 1 and 3, and they might have been better at times in Game 6. Super pest Brad Marchand, star goalie Tuukka Rask and a desperate bunch of their spoked-B-wearing buddies know what it takes to win and lose championships, and now the Blues’ cushion is gone. The Blues didn’t blow it Sunday. Boston grabbed it and refused to let go. The Blues still can take the series.

More on that in a moment. First, it’s worth mentioning the biggest obstacle standing in the Blues’ way of a broken curse. He wears No. 40 and a mask of an animal possessed. Rask stopped 28 of 29 shots behind a stronger Bruins defense than the Blues have encountered in previous games. He blanketed the Blues before and after Ryan O’Reilly’s thirdperiod goal chipped into the Bruins’ 3-0 lead.

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington was no match for Rask on this night, no matter how much the Blues wanted to cite luck and the bounce of a puck. Binnington allowed four goals after holding the Bruins to three, combined, in his last two games. “Things were going his way tonight,” Binnington said about Rask. If O’Reilly had buried his first-period breakaway, perhaps things would have changed. If Brayden Schenn had resisted the urge to draw an obvious boarding penalty on a senseless smash of Joakim Nordstrom in the first period, and O’Reilly had not followed it up with a delay-of-game penalty, then Marchand might not have beaten Binnington on a five-on-three power play. If an attempt to clear the puck had not bounced off an on-ice official, perhaps the Bruins would not have gone ahead by two goals less than three minutes into the second. It was that kind of a night, one that prompted some fans to head for the exits when Karson Kuhlman beat Binnington high and to his left to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead with 9:45 left in the third period. Two more goals were on their way, one into an open net. Goals from Marchand and David Pastrnak, who had been quiet in this series, are not encouraging signs for Game 7. The Blues were blanked on all four of their power plays. It’s so hard to win when that happens. Change that, and a lopsided loss that was close until the third could look a whole lot different. And now? Flush it. For so many reasons. The Blues have lost back-to-back games in this postseason just twice. That’s twice in 25 games. And get this: The Blues have not lost back-to-back postseason games in more than a month. They are 5-2 after a postseason loss, and 3-1 after a loss in which they allow five or more goals. Don’t forget their .750 road win percentage is the best of any team that made the postseason. Remember that Binnington is a beast after losses. He has allowed four or more goals six times this postseason. Here are his goals allowed in the starts that follow: 2, 2, 2, 1, 2. Big moments get to the Blues at home. It’s maddening. Oh well. Now their biggest moment ever comes on the road, after a loss. They’re comfortable here. Backs in the corner. No wiggle room. Ben Frederickson @Ben_Fred on Twitter bfrederickson@post-dispatch.com

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S6 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL

M 1 • MOnDAy • 06.10.2019

SCENES FROM GAME 6

CHRISTIAN GOODEN • cgooden@post-dispatch.com

From left, Blues fans Lisa Snead, Tessa Zaehringer and Kelly Fitzgerald wave their towels during a watch party at Grant’s Farm.

ROBERT COHEN • rcohen@post-dispatch.com.

Jeremy Hunter of Granite City drinks from a Stanley Cup stein he got as a Father’s Day gift last year before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

BRIAN MUNOZ • bmunoz@post-dispatch.com.

Katelyn St. Peters, 9, of Alton, and her cousin, Daniel Bennett, 10, sing along to the national anthem at Mac’s Downtown on Sunday in Alton.

ROBERT COHEN • rcohen@post-dispatch.com

A huge crowd fills the park for a watch party at Tucker and Pine in downtown St. Louis before the Blues faced Boston in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Blues center Ryan O’Reilly slips while battling Boston’s Brandon Carlo on Sunday. The Blues will have to win at Boston on Wednesday to grasp their first Stanley Cup.

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

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

Blues forward Jaden Schwartz looks for a teammate against Boston’s Charlie McAvoy during the first period of Game 6 on Sunday. Schwartz hasn’t scored a goal since his hat trick against San Jose on May 19, a streak of seven games.

Tyler Bozak is denied by Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask in Game 6 at Enterprise Center. Rask stopped 28 of 29 shots to help Boston even the series at 3-3.

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S6 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL

M 2 • MOnDAy • 06.10.2019

SCENES FROM GAME 6

The Bruins celebrate their fourth goal of Game 6, by right wing David Pastrnak during the third period Sunday at Enterprise Center.

ROBERT COHEN • rcohen@post-dispatch.com

Blues fans at a watch party in downtown St. Louis react in anguish during the second period of Game 6 Sunday.

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

CHRISTIAN GOODEN • cgooden@post-dispatch.com.

Kristin Egan of Maryland Heights reacts to the ups and downs of the first period of Game 6 on Sunday during a watch party at Grant’s Farm.

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

Blues forward Jaden Schwartz looks for a teammate against Boston’s Charlie McAvoy during the first period of Game 6 on Sunday. Schwartz hasn’t scored a goal since his hat trick against San Jose on May 19, a streak of seven games. Jeremy Hunter of Granite City drinks from a Stanley Cup stein he got as a Father’s Day gift last year before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

ROBERT COHEN • P-D

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Blues left wing David Perron fights to get to a puck against Boston’s Joakim Nordstrom (20) and Noel Acciari during Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

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STANLEY CUP FINAL

06.10.2019 • Monday • M 1

ST. LoUIS PoST-dISPaTCH • S7

NOTEBOOK

THOMAS ‘FINE WITH HIT’

Rookie returns to lineup, says he holds no ill will about Game 1 barreling from Krug ally excited. They’re playing unbelievable and I hope they can close it out as well.” Though the NBA schedule somewhat conflicts with that of the NHL, O’Reilly said he and teammates were able to get to one Raptors game this season, when the Blues were in Boston in January. “The Raps lost,” O’Reilly said, “but still, it was an exciting game to see. I’m pulling for them. Hopefully they do it.” The Raptors are up 3-1 in the series against Golden State. Game 5 is Monday in Toronto.

BY TOM TIMMERMANN St. Louis Post-dispatch

Robert Thomas returned to the lineup for the Blues after missing four games with a wrist injury, and the rookie forward said he had no problem with the hit from Boston’s Torey Krug that leveled him in Game 1. “There’s no penalty, there’s no call,” he said Sunday morning. “I’m fine with the hit.” Though coach Craig Berube has said on two occasions that the hit – in which Krug got out of a wrestling match with David Perron, skated the length of the ice looking to whack Perron, only to change his mind and instead blow up Thomas – was not the cause of Thomas getting hurt. The fact is, that was the last Thomas was on the ice until practice Friday. Thomas went to the dressing room after that play, was there the rest of the game, and then didn’t play in Games 2 through 5. Thomas had been nursing a wrist injury for weeks before that, which had limited him to playing in games. Starting early in the San Jose series, he did not take part in practices or morning skates. But that’s one thing about the length of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Players get hurt and can recover while the postseason drags on. “I was always pretty optimistic that I had a chance to get back, and that’s what I’ve been working hard to do,” he said. “It’s the hardest thing to watch your teammates go out there, and they put us in a great position.” Thomas was reunited with linemates Tyler Bozak and Pat Maroon. Sammy Blais, who had been filling in on that line, moved down to replace the suspended Ivan Barbashev. “He feels good enough to play, and we need a player,” coach Craig Berube said.

BACKES OUT AGAIN

With increased confidence that Zdeno Chara can play a full game, the Bruins went back to a standard 12-forward, six-defenseman configuration for Game 6, but ex-Blue David Backes, who came out of the lineup for Game 5 when coach Bruce Cassidy chose to dress an extra defenseman, stayed out. Cassidy went with Karson Kuhlman, a rookie forward who played in 11 games in the regular season and had yet to play in this series, opting for his speed over Backes’ physical play. Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who has been in the league’s concussion protocol since being hit by Oskar Sundqvist in Game 1, has not been cleared to return. Sundqvist served a one-game suspension for that hit. According to the Boston Globe, the Blues are the first team to have two players suspended in the Stanley Cup Final.

ROOM WITH A VIEW

RAPTOR MANIA

The Blues have a heavily Canadian-based roster, so the success of the Toronto Raptors in the NBA playoffs has been a welcome event for many on the team. Six of the 20 players who suited up for Game 6 are from Ontario, Toronto’s province. “It’s awesome,” said center Ryan O’Reilly, from Clinton, Ontario. “I’m re-

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Blues center Robert Thomas (left) warms up before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday at Enterprise Center. Thomas had missed four games with an undisclosed injury.

While the Blues talked of treating Game 6 like any other game, they did make one break from their normal routine. The team stayed at a hotel Saturday night. While the Blues routinely have stayed at a downtown hotel the afternoon of game days between the morning skate and game time, they stayed the night before only once, when they had a Sunday afternoon game in the Dallas series. “I think it just gets the guys together,” O’Reilly said. “I think everyone’s got a ton of family in town and friends. It’s just kind of nice to get away from that and stay focused and be around the guys. … Kind of just relax a little bit.” O’Reilly said there was no curfew. “I don’t think anyone was going to be doing anything too late,” he said.

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S8 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL

M 1 • MOnDAy • 06.10.2019

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