St Louis Blues win dramatic Game Two
Carl Gunnarsson was the hero for the St Louis Blues on Wednesday night as he scored the winning goal in a dramatic 3-2 win against the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden.
After losing Monday’s opening game of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Blues were big underdogs for Game Two with sports betting companies, but Gunnarsson’s goal, which came 3:51 into overtime, was enough to level the series and put them firmly in contention, with Games Three and Four scheduled to take place on their home ice at the Enterprise Center on Saturday and Monday.
Gunnarsson, who rarely gets among the goals, revealed that he had an exchange with Blues coach Craig Berube during the interval ahead of overtime, during which he said that he needed one more chance, having hit the right post with 1:57 left in the third period. With just under four minutes into overtime, he came up with the most important goal of his career, scoring with a slap shot from inside the blue line. Speaking to the media after the game, the defenseman emphasised that the St Louis players were determined to fight back hard after their Game One loss.
"First game, we weren't happy; today we came out flying and I think we played a great game for 60-plus minutes. That's just the team we are. We come back like that. We never give up. For me to put it in there and get the winner, it's a great feeling," he said.
It was a disappointing night for Boston, who saw their eight-game winning streak broken as they conceded their first defeat since 30 April. Tuukka Rask made 34 saves, but he was unable to prevent the Blues from twice fighting back from a goal down. Robert Bortuzzo and Vladimir Tarasenko both scored first-period goals to tie the game after Charlie Coyle and Joakim Nordström had put Boston ahead 1-0 and 2-1 respectively.
In the opposition goal, Jordan Binnington ultimately had a good night, despite conceding a goal from the first shot he faced when Coyle scored on a power play. The Blues goaltender went on to make 21 saves, including 18 straight saves, continuing his impressive record of bouncing back after playoff defeats. His save percentage in the game after a loss now stands at .935.
Having secured a vital win in Boston, the pressure will now be on the Blues to capitalise on their home advantage in the next two games as they bid to win the Stanley Cup for the first time.
Words: Stijn Janssen