St. Louis Blues Win First Stanley Cup Game: Pros And Cons

BOSTON, MA - MAY 29: St. Louis celebrates their first ever Finals win courtesy of St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (4) in overtime during Game 2 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues on May 29, 2019, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 29: St. Louis celebrates their first ever Finals win courtesy of St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (4) in overtime during Game 2 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues on May 29, 2019, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Blues have made history over and over again in 2018-19, especially in the playoffs. They added to that by picking up the franchise’s first ever win in a Stanley Cup Final game.

The journey is not over, but the St. Louis Blues have finally done it. The franchise now has a win to their credit during the Stanley Cup Final.

With a 3-2 win in overtime, the Blues shed themselves of a winless distinction in three previous trips to the final series. Now, only the Flordia Panthers remain winless in the finals history.

In typical Blues fashion, they could not make things easy on themselves. They allowed the Boston Bruins to get on the board first in Game 2. Perhaps it was a ploy to see if they could reverse the luck from Game 1.

It appeared to work as the Blues got their legs under them and tied things up just shy of the halfway mark of the first period. Unfortunately, the elation of the Enterprise Center crowd, and all Blues fans, was short lived as Boston re-took the lead just 40 seconds later.

St. Louis would not be outdone this time though. Boston seemed to control much of the puck after taking a 2-1 lead, but St. Louis never lost their grip as they did the previous game.

The Blues just kept steady and calm and in the moment. They were rewarded for that patience with a spectacular effort play by their star to tie the game just five minutes from the first buzzer.

After that, it was a war of wills. The teams traded chances and blocks and hits and just about everything for two periods, but no more goals were scored in regulation.

The Blues seemed to, strangely enough, gain steam as the game went along. While they gave their fans indigestion and heart palpitations, they were actually generating more sustained offense the later the game went on. The Blues were buzzing near the end of the third period and Carl Gunnarsson sent the watch party into an explosion when he hit the post because those in attendance thought it went in.

It was a disheartening feeling to realize it had not gone in, especially since the Bruins came close on the other end. However, justice was served later on.

After a bathroom conversation in the locker room, Gunnarsson would get his reward just minutes into overtime. Similar to his post shot in the third, he unleashed a slap shot and this time it hit net instead of iron.

The emotions were high for all fans, but somehow, some way, we have to calm it down. Three wins to go after a stupendous first win in franchise history.

Cons: Jordan Binnington’s First Period

Before anyone has a conniption fit, it has to be said that Jordan Binnington is one of the biggest reasons this Blues team is where it is. Even as one of the biggest supporters of his predecessor, that has to be admitted. The Blues would not be in the final without Binnington.

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However, we take things play by play and game by game. With that in mind, the Bruins two goals were on Binnington as far as the shots themselves were concerned.

I say that about the shots because each goal had events that led to it that could have altered things. The first goal was on the power play.

St. Louis got caught puck watching for the briefest of moments, but that left the slot wide open. Sammy Blais was called for goaltender interference, even though he was shoved from behind. So, both of those things could have changed.

The second goal came almost directly off a turnover where the Blues failed to exit the zone. That did not need to happen either.

However, even with all that taken into account, you have to lay some blame on Binnington. Even he would likely be the first to say he needs to stop both of those shots.

The first one, despite having an open look in the slot, came off a relatively weak shot, all things considered. Perhaps Binninton was thrown off by the offspeed shot, but he let it slip through his legs. It is a common thing with today’s goaltenders, but he could have easily stopped that if he left his stick on the ice, instead of a useless, dangling appendage protruding from his blocker.

The second goal was much the same. Yes, it was a defensive breakdown and poor puck management, but Binnington let it slip through the five-hole again.

Oddly enough, Binnington had his left pad sealed to the ice just prior to the shot. A momentary lift of it allowed the puck to get through. One can only think he thought the shot would go high or needed a push off, but that one moment was all the Bruins needed to get the lead back.

With all that in mind, you have to mention the fact Binnington slammed the door for the rest of the game. He still provided the team confidence to push forward and take this game.

Even so, you have to acknowledge his failings even though most don’t want to. Those could have been costly mistakes and you cannot rely on the idea of how far he has gotten this team already. Thankfully, he calmed down and made good saves after that.

Pros: Battling Back

Win or lose, you have to give the Blues credit for being resilient. They can be a maddeningly frustrating team at times, but I cannot remember a team that has found a way to bounce back more than this team.

The first quarter of the year notwithstanding, this team has found a multitude of ways to shred their failure quickly. Whether that is after a goal or after a loss, they just find a way to keep battling.

After a crushing loss in Game 1, blowing a two-goal lead, you could feel the air let out of Blues fans after Boston scored first. The Bruins had then scored five unanswered goals against the Blues and looked ready for more.

Instead of bowing their heads as we have seen in previous seasons, the Blues just went back to work. Their offense was struggling, but they were putting pucks toward net, which is what they failed to do in Game 1.

The first goal is a prime example of that. St. Louis fired one in from the point that went wide, but they kept it alive from the near-side corner and flipped it back toward goal. Then, Robert Bortuzzo just fired a hopeful drive toward net from the right circle, near the outside hash marks.

Nobody expects to score from there, but it went off a Boston defender and in. That’s why putting it on net is never a bad thing. It was a reward for the Blues continuing to put the effort in and not getting down on themselves.

You would almost understand it if St. Louis gave up after Boston scored less than a minute later. Though there was a brief period where they looked sluggish, the Blues still managed to rebound, literally and figuratively.

St. Louis’ tying goal came on a fantastic second and third effort. After springing an odd-man rush from their own zone, Jaden Schwartz was denied on the initial shot.

Vladimir Tarasenko followed that up with a fine shot that was equaled with an even better block. Tarasenko refused to give up on it and roofed the tying goal with the backhand as he was falling to the ice.

It all showed why this team needed to never give up and they did not

Cons: The Officiating

I have done my best to leave the officiating out whenever possible. They have the hardest job in sports, trying to referee the fastest game on the planet.

However, if this is the best the sport has to offer then I fear for the future. This is the Stanley Cup Final and we are seeing penalties called that would be weak in the middle of the regular season.

You cannot completely fault them for their calls. From the position behind the goal, the Blais interference call would look correct. The problem is a forward should have the ability to drive the net and Blais was shoved from behind. It got called anyway.

Oskar Sundqvist was called for boarding near the end of the first period. Again, I understand why they made the call, but the fact the Boston player put himself in a vulnerable position should come into play for these officials and it did not.

Our former captain was whining that it should lead to a suspension.  I’m sure if roles were reversed, we might agree, but I will be disappointed if Sundqvist has to miss any time.

Joel Edmundson, who had another rough game with turnovers, was called for tripping midway through the second. It was another example of a call that was understood, but also one that you wonder what Edmundson is supposed to do. He was turning to follow the puck and the Boston player skates through his stick. It was not in an unnatural position and Edmundson had no intention of impeding his opponent. You wonder if a trip would be called if someone just stepped on a stick blade and fell over.

This was far from the worst officiating we have seen, but the inconsistency is unacceptable at this point. The Blues have been undisciplined, but a 10-5 difference in power plays between the two teams seems a bit much.

The officials missed or ignored a blatant too many men call on Boston’s first goal too.

In addition, I cannot remember a series where the officials were in the way so much. There were at least four times the officials deflected, stopped or influenced the flight of the puck or those chasing it. That number was likely higher, but those were the blatant ones.

If I could think of a way to solve the faceoff issue, I might actually buy into Rod Brind’Amour’s idea for taking the officials off the ice surface.

Pros: Carl Gunnarsson

What else can you say other than Stanley Cup Game 2 hero? You have to imagine anyone who had the guts to put a wager on Gunny getting the game winning goal in a Stanley Cup game had to win a lot of money off that.

Gunnarsson might have been the unlikeliest of heroes, but he was more than deserving. He stepped in valiantly after Vince Dunn went down with injury in the last series. Gunnarsson has his detractors and gives them ammunition, but he has been steady and solid in this series.

Offense has never been his game, but he was getting pucks toward the net. Boston seems to overload pressure on the right, perhaps trying to negate the shots from Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo.

Thus, the left handed shots had a lot of space available to them. Gunnarsson utilized that.

While he was only credited with one shot, the game winner, he was keeping pucks alive and flinging them goalward more than not. We all thought he had the game winner in the third period when he clanged one off the far post.

It was justice that he would get the goal in overtime to end it. Just like his miss earlier in the night, he simply unleashed a shot and this time it went in.

Check out this video, complete with audio from the NBC feed, KMOX and the Canadian broadcast as well.


I try to keep things professional, yet opinionated. I try to make these articles about the team and not myself. However, it is just too hard not to mention personal emotion after a game like that.

It was hard not to shed tears watching that game and the way it ended. I have never been a bigger ball of nerves and emotion for any sporting event and it was only the first win of four needed.

All I could do when that goal went in was jump up and down and hug my wife and clap and soak it in. This team has done something we all hoped for but all doubted might happen at so many times.

Some have waited their entire lives and others have waited for decades upon decades.

It was not the prettiest of wins. The Blues made plenty of mistakes.

We can whine about officiating, but the Blues put themselves shorthanded five times for the second game in a row. That cannot continue.

The Blues failed to clear their zone several times and were made to pay for it once. They were credited with 17 giveaways, which means their turnover count by fans eyes was probably double that. That cannot continue.

Even with all that and two goals your stud goaltender would like to have back, the Blues found a way to win the game. Even during the regular season, you say a win is a win, but that is amplified 100% when you are one of only two teams remaining in the entire league.

If you have to climb over a pile of bodies, you do it. If you have to claw and scratch and crawl to win, you do it.

The Blues overcame two deficits. They got a scare when Tarasenko went down and missed several shifts. The goaltender who put them on his narrow shoulders had his first bad game (bad period, really).

St. Louis just shrugged it off and said screw it, we will do it anyway. They battled back each time and got a deserved win.

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As a fan, it was even sweeter because, even if only for one game, it shut up all the smug media gurus. You try to respect their opinion, but when so many people want to say this series will be over after one game, it turns your stomach.

Now, things are getting started. Now, it is really time for this team to go to work. Three more, ladies and gentleman.