The Boston Bruins staved off elimination from the Stanley Cup Final with a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday to force a decisive seventh game in the National Hockey League's championship series.
Goals from Brad Marchand, Brandon Carlo, Karson Kuhlman, David Pastrnak and Zdeno Chara gave Boston a big win while Ryan O'Reilly was the sole scorer for St. Louis. "We wanted to defend really hard today and make them earn every opportunity and I thought we did a really good job of it," said Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, who made 28 saves to earn his 50th career playoff victory.
St. Louis, with ice hockey's most prized possession in the building, came out hard in the first five minutes of the game but a composed Rask held firm in goal and was the main reason Boston was able to spoil the Blues' party plans. The Bruins, who will host Game Seven on Wednesday, are looking to become the ninth team in NHL history to overcome a 3-2 series deficit in the Stanley Cup Final -- a feat last achieved by them in 2011.
The contest will also mark the first time in the Bruins' 95-year history that they will host a winner-take-all Game Seven in the Stanley Cup Final. "That's something you dream about as a little kid and everybody is going to be bringing their best performance on Wednesday night in Boston," said Kuhlman.
Boston opened the scoring on a five-on-three powerplay nine minutes into the game when Marchand fired a one-timer from a tough angle that went over the glove of Blues rookie goalie Jordan Binnington and into the top corner. The Bruins padded their lead just over two minutes into the third period when Carlo's one-hopper from the blueline dribbled through Binnington's legs while Kuhlman scored the dagger at the midway mark of the period.
Blues forward O'Reilly got one back with eight minutes to play when his shot barely crossed the goal line before Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask got a pad on it. A video review confirmed the puck had crossed the line. Boston sealed the win two minutes later on Pastrnak's goal while captain Chara, playing his second game with a full face shield after breaking his jaw last Monday, added an empty-netter shortly after.
For St. Louis, Wednesday's game will be their second chance to end the longest wait in NHL history -- 51 seasons -- for a team to win their first championship. The Blues, who were dead last in early January, said the pressure of the situation did not get to them and that they are confident playing away from home. They have won nine of their 12 road games this postseason.
"If you told me four months ago we were going to be in the Final in Game Seven I think I'd take it," said Blues head coach Craig Berube. "We've been a good road team, we've won twice up there (in Boston) in this series so we're a confident group."
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