Blues capture first ever Stanley Cup title

The Blues defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final

Brayton Wilson
June 12, 2019 - 11:34 pm

Photo: Brian Fluharty - USA TODAY Sports

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For the first time in their 52-year franchise history, the St. Louis Blues are Stanley Cup champions.

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The Blues captured their first title on Wednesday night with a 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

The opening period was saw Boston getting the majority of the scoring chances, out-shooting the Blues in the first by a 12-4 total. However, it was St. Louis getting on the board first as former Buffalo Sabres forward Ryan O'Reilly was able to re-direct a point shot from defenseman Jay Bouwmeester through Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask with 3:13 remaining in the period. The goal was O'Reilly's eighth goal of the playoffs, giving him a six-game point streak in the process.

The Blues were not done in the first as defenseman Alex Pietrangelo put St. Louis up by a 2-0 score when he joined an offensive rush and backhanded a shot past Rask with just 7.9-seconds remaining in the period. It was the third goal of the playoffs for the Blues captain, and gave him his second point of the period.

Boston continued to press in the second period, but the Blues held their ground as rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington turned aside 11 more shots on goal. St. Louis played well in front of their netminder, putting up six more shots on goal and allowing him to see the puck getting to the net.

With a little more than 11 minutes to play in regulation, the Blues got some help from Binnington in goal as he made a great toe save on Bruins forward Joakim Nordstrom in front of the net. After a shot from forward Noel Acciari was knocked down by Binnington, Nordstrom picked up the rebound and tried to tuck the puck around the right leg of the Blues' netminder. However, Binnington was able to just barely extend his leg out enough to kick the puck out of harm's way.

That save was what swung the pendulum in the Blues' favor as just 2:16 later, Brayden Schenn gave the Blues a 3-1 lead off a nice feed from Vladimir Tarasenko in the corner. Schenn got off a one-time shot that remained low to the ice, but got past the left leg of Rask and into the back of the net.

The final dagger came with 4:38 remaining in the game when Zach Sanford scored his first goal of the playoffs off a nice feed from David Perron. Perron was able to stick handle his way through the Bruins defense in the corner, then fired a pass across the ice to Sanford for the goal.

Matt Grzelcyk was able to score Boston's lone goal at the 17:50 mark of the third, but the damage was done and the deficit was insurmountable.

As for O'Reilly, he finished the playoffs with eight goals and 23 points in 26 games played. His point total was good for a tie with Bruins forward Brad Marchand to lead the league in postseason scoring. For his performance in the playoffs, O'Reilly was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Other former Sabres players to have won the Stanley Cup this season with the Blues includes forwards Jordan Nolan and Chris Thorburn, as well as defenseman Chris Butler. All three of those players were scratched throughout most of the playoffs. In addition, former Sabres captain Steve Ott won the Stanley Cup behind the bench as an assistant coach with the Blues.

It was a rough start to the regular season for the Blues as they got out to a 7-9-3 in the opening 19 games. That slow start resulted in the firing of head coach Mike Yeo, who was replaced by interim head coach Craig Berube. At the end of the 2018 calendar year, St. Louis found itself with a 15-18-4 record with 34 points, which was tied for dead last in the NHL standings.

From there, the Blues dramatically turned their season around and closed out the regular season with a 30-10-5 record. That helped the Blues to a 99-point finish and the third spot in the Central Division.

St. Louis made the Stanley Cup Final in each of the first three seasons of the franchise's existence, but were swept in four games in all three of those playoff rounds. Prior to this year's appearance, the last time the Blues played for a Stanley Cup title was back in 1970 when they lost to the Bruins in four games.

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