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Jun 7, 2019, 11:29:00 AM

Blues strike crucial blow in Game Five

The St. Louis Blues have taken a decisive lead in the Stanley Cup Final series after beating the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Thursday.

The Blues were the underdogs going into the game, according to sports betting companies, but they now have a 3-2 advantage as they head back to St. Louis, where they can clinch the series in Sunday’s Game Six and record their first ever Stanley Cup Championship.

They earned that lead courtesy of another gritty display, in which they held on to win 2-1 in front of the Boston fans, with goaltender Jordan Binnington leading the way. Binnington, who was pulled during the team’s Game Three loss, came up with 38 saves on the night and set a new record for road wins by a rookie goalie as well as tying the record for postseason wins by a rookie.

Ryan O’Reilly was the other hero of the night for St. Louis, scoring his third goal in two games and claiming an assist for the decisive goal by David Perron.

For Boston, defenceman Zdeno Chára, who had been doubtful for the game after suffering a facial injury in Game Four, managed to play 16:42 wearing a plastic jaw protector, and speaking to the media, Boston coach Bruce Cassidy paid tribute to the veteran:

“He was medically cleared with some warnings. He made the decision to play. Inspirational for us, good player for us. We knew he wouldn’t be 100 percent. We’re happy to have him out there but it just speaks a lot to his character and his role.”

Boston made a strong start to the game, as they attempted to regain the lead in a series that has seen them go 1-0 and 2-1 up, and Binnington was called on to make 17 saves during the first period to keep his team in the game. However, they struck an important blow early in the second period when O’Reilly scored from a neat pass from behind the goal line by Zach Sanford.

The Bruins hit back hard and thought they’d tied the game at 7:00 in the third period, but David Pastrňák’s effort was judged not to have fully crossed the goal line. And on 10:36, St. Louis extended their lead when O’Reilly found Perron, who banked his shot from the right pad of Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask. Jake DeBrusk scored through a one-timer with a little over six minutes left on the clock, but St. Louis, led by Binnington, held out to put them one win from the Stanley Cup.

Words: Stijn Janssen

Images: PA