There was a lot of momentum to be earned Monday night.
Entering Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Boston Bruins held a 2-1 series lead over the St. Louis Blues. A win for Boston, and it pushes the Blues to the brink of elimination. A victory for St. Louis though, and it’s a whole new series.
Well, it’s a whole new series.
The Blues won, earning a 4-2 win at Enterprise Center to even the series at two games apiece.
With the game tied 2-2 entering the final period, Ryan O’Reilly’s goal off a rebound at 10:38 proved to be the winner.
Charlie Coyle and Brandon Carlo had Boston’s tallies, while O’Reilly (twice), Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn (empty netter) scored for St. Louis.
Tuukka Rask made 34 saves for the Bruins, while Jordan Binnington turned away 22 shots for St. Louis.
Here’s how it all went down:
The Bruins were thoroughly outplayed in the opening 20 minutes, but only finished the first period down 2-1.
St. Louis got on the board first, and it didn’t take long.
Moments after puck drop, Vince Dunn threw a shot to the net from the point, and Zach Sanford redirected it. Rask made the save, but O’Reilly was right on the doorstep to get possession after Rask kicked the puck away. O’Reilly quickly skated around the net and buried a wraparound before Rask got to the other post, putting the Blues up 1-0 just 43 seconds into the game.
Right around the midway point the Bruins started to play a little bit better, and the third line, per usual, scored for Boston.
Zdeno Chara cleared Boston’s zone by hitting Danton Heinen with a stretch pass, finding the winger at Boston’s offensive blue line. Heinen controlled the puck for a moment before getting leveled, but Chara had come crashing in and gained possession. Chara skated deep in the attacking zone, and just before reaching the end line and he put a bad angle shot on net, which Binnington turned away. However, the netminder left a nice rebound, and Coyle collected it, skated around Binnington and finished the equalizer at 13:14.
Before the period was over, the Blues regained the lead.
Schenn received a pass as he dashed into the offensive end, then turned at the half boards and backhanded a the puck diagonally across the zone. Jaden Schwartz had a chance to get the puck in the slot but left it, and eventually it slid out to Alex Pietrangelo at the right point. Pietrangelo skated to the top of the circle and shot, which Rask stopped, but he left a rebound, which Tarasenko put away at 15:30.
BRUINS DRAW LEVEL
For the second period in a row the Bruins were outplayed, but a stroke of luck resulted in Boston scoring the only goal of the middle period.
Connor Clifton logged a long shift north of three minutes due to the Bruins’ inability to clear the defensive zone, and the defenseman finally got a breather when he was the recipient of a soft whistle for a check to the head of Tarasenko.
While shorthanded, Brad Marchand got the Bruins going on a rush, stopping right after gaining the blue line to kill some time. Patrice Bergeron skated into the zone, Marchand hit him with a pass and shortly thereafter the center fired a shot on net. Binnington turned it away and left a huge rebound, and Carlo (barely) beat the goalie on the wide-open net at 14:19 to tie the game.
BLUES PUT IT AWAY
Just beyond the halfway point of the third, the Blues regained the lead, and they wouldn’t let it go the rest of the way.
Pietrangelo skated into the offensive end with time and space and teed up a massive shot. Rask was unable to swallow up the puck, instead surrendering an open rebound to O’Reilly, who had skated through the slot pretty much unmarked. O’Reilly scored on the doorstep at 10:38 to put St. Louis up 3-2.
The Bruins pulled Rask late in the game in search of a tying goal, but Schenn scored an empty-netter at 18:31 to secure the win for the hosts.
The series returns to Boston on Thursday for Game 5. Puck drop from TD Garden is set for 8 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images