Blues 4 Bruins 2
(Best of seven games series tied at 2-2)
ST. LOUIS —The Blues did what they’ve had a knack for doing in this postseason, bouncing back after a defeat and pulling even with Boston at two wins apiece with a 4-2 win in Game 4 on Monday night at Enterprise Center.
Ryan O’Reilly had the game-winner with his second goal of the game, putting in a rebound of a shot by Alex Pietrangelo with 9:22 to go in the third period. Brayden Schenn sealed it with an empty-net goal with 1:29 to play.
It’s now a best-of-three series. The teams return to Boston for Game 5 on Thursday, and there will be one more game at Enterprise Center, Game 6 on Sunday. This was the first win for the Blues at home in the Stanley Cup Final, in their eighth try.
The game was tied at 2 entering the third and both sides had a power play they couldn’t score on. Pietrangelo took a shot from the right that hit a Boston stick and caught goalie Tuukka Rask high. The rebound fell in the slot where O’Reilly knocked it in. Carl Gunnarsson also had an assist on the goal, his third point in the series.
Jordan Binnington bounced back with another win after a loss, improving to 7-2 in the postseason.
Boston played much of the final two periods without their captain, Zdeno Chara. Schenn took a shot that hit Chara’s stick and bounced up and hit him in the face. Chara was in the dressing room for the rest of the period and returned for the third, wearing a full cage, but never went back on the ice. It’s the second time in this series that Boston has lost a defenseman during the game.
It looked bad for the Blues when, after a dominating stretch of hockey, the Blues drew a power play and, with every bit of momentum going their way, they gave up a short-handed goal that pulled the Bruins even after two periods.
Brandon Carlo scored the goal, putting in a rebound of a shot by Patrice Bergeron that was blocked by Binnington. It came just 26 seconds into a Blues power play after Connor Clifton was called for an illegal check to the head after he was caught on the ice after a lengthy possession by the Blues kept him from getting off the ice. It was the fourth short-handed goal allowed by the Blues in the playoffs; no other team has allowed more than two. The Bruins have allowed one.
The Blues did everything but score as they kept the Bruins hemmed in to their zone, and even when they did get the puck out, they couldn’t get it deep enough to get on a full set of fresh bodies. It was reminiscent of a shift Jay Bouwmeester had in the San Jose series when he was on the ice for 3:47.
That stretch came just after the Blues killed off a Boston power play after Colton Parayko was called for delay of game. The Bruins scored four times on the power play in Game 3, so that kill was a big morale boost for the Blues. The Blues almost scored when O’Reilly had a partial breakaway. Rask save the shot and O’Reilly’s shot on the rebound hit Rask and went behind him, but trickled just outside the far post by inches.
Goals by O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko put the Blues up 2-1 after the first period.
O’Reilly scored 43 seconds into the game on a wraparound and Tarasenko put in the rebound of a shot by Pietrangelo with 4:30 to go in the period. Charlie Coyle got the Boston goal.
The Blues came out strongly again, and within the first minute, O’Reilly grabbed a rebound of a Vince Dunn shot deflected by Zach Sanford, circled behind the cage and slipped the puck in just before Rask’s left skate could get to the post.
It was O’Reilly’s fourth goal of the playoffs and his first since Game 1 of the San Jose series. Dunn and Sanford had assists; Dunn was in his first game back after missing six games (and almost three weeks) after taking a puck to the face and Sanford stayed in the lineup after doing well filling in for Oskar Sundqvist in Game 3.
That goal marked the first time the Blues had the lead at home this series.
Boston tied the game with 6:46 to go in the period when Coyle put in the rebound of his initial shot that Binnington saved. After Coyle’s initial tip of Chara’s shot, Coyle took the rebound, moved around Binnington and scored. It was the ninth goal of the playoffs for Coyle.
Just over two minutes later, the Blues retook the lead. Pietrangelo, trailing the play, took a cross-ice pass from Schenn and zigged slightly inside to get a better angle. Rask made the save but Tarasenko came down the slot and fired in the rebound for his 11th goal of the postseason.