The St. Louis Blues have stolen home-ice advantage with a 3-2, overtime win in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston.
Carl Gunnarsson beat the Bruins to even the Final at 1-1, with a game-winning goal that beat Tuukka Rask in OT.
Jordan Binnington was sharp for St. Louis, stopping 21 of the 23 shots he faced.
Charlie Coyle and Joakim Nordstrom scored both of Boston’s goals in the first period of a very physical game.
It’s the first Stanley Cup Final win in Blues history, after they lost in Game 1 and were swept in their previous three Final appearances.
The scene shifts to St. Louis for Game 3 on Saturday night.
For the first time since 2016, we’re getting overtime in a Stanley Cup Final game. The Bruins and Blues are locked at 2-2 after three periods and it’s been a thriller in Boston. There were several golden opportunities in the third period but neither team has been able to get on the board since the first period.
The Blues, however, came extremely close late in the third. THIS close.
Blues better in the second period
We had a scoreless second period in Boston but the Blues looked like the better team in the middle frame. St. Louis outshot Bruins 14-6 in the second period and held a 11-7 advantage in scoring chances. The Blues have done a much better job at holding it together defensively and taking away time and space from the Bruins, who can’t seem to get much going in the way of sustained offensive pressure.
There was, however, plenty of physicality to go both ways.
So far, the Bruins’ best line has been their third unit of Charlie Coyle-Marcus Johansson-Danton Heinen. The top six hasn’t got much of anything going at all.
Matt Grzelcyk knocked out of the game
The Bruins are down to five defensemen in this game after Matt Grzelcyk was injured at the end of the first period. Grzelcyk took a hit from behind from Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist and his head bounced off the glass, signaling he may have suffered a possible concussion on the play. Sundqvist received a two-minute minor for the hit.
Grzelcyk was missing from the bench at the start of the second period and didn’t return to the game.
A dogfight in the first
As expected, Game 2 brought a quicker start than the series opener. Both teams seemed to have better legs without that long layoff from the conference finals. The Bruins were able to strike first after getting an early power play courtesy of a Sammy Blais penalty for goaltender interference. Jake DeBrusk connected with a wide open Charlie Coyle in the slot and Coyle was able to finish through Jordan Binnington’s five-hole. The Blues could have used a save from Binnington on the sequence.
The Blues answered with a goal from Robert Bortuzzo about five minutes later when his shot deflected off the leg of a Bruins defenseman in front of Tuukka Rask. The deflection had eyes and found its way over Rask’s shoulder into the roof of the net for the equalizer, giving the Blues some much-needed early offense.
However, Boston showed some resilience and answered the answer shortly after. It was the fourth line for the Bruins coming up with production once again, with Joakim Nordstrom putting a goal past Binnington following a messy sequence and a defensive breakdown from the Blues.
David Perron had the costly turnover that allowed the Bruins to keep the puck in the zone, but the Blues also allowed Nordstrom to roam free in the middle of the slot.
It wasn’t just the Blues who suffered from some ugly defensive sequences, though. A bad read from Brad Marchand in the neutral zone allowed the Blues to find an odd-man rush with their top line on the ice against the Bruins’ top defensive pair. Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko took on Zdeno Chara and, ultimately, Tarasenko made a great play to stick with the play and tie it at 2-2.
That’s Tarasenko’s fourth straight game with a goal and his eighth straight game with at least one point.