BOSTON (AP) — Jordan Binnington stopped 38 shots, and Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron scored for St. Louis on Thursday night to give the Blues a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins and a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Blues have won two straight since a 7-2 loss at home and return to St. Louis with a chance to clinch the first NHL championship in franchise history. Game 6 is Sunday night and the Blues are riding a red-hot goalie of late.
“Unbelievable. He won one for us,” defenseman Colton Parayko said of Binnington.
Tuukka Rask stopped 19 shots and Jake DeBrusk scored for Boston. The Bruins were lifted by the return of captain Zdeno Chara, who left Game 4 dripping blood after taking a deflected puck off his face. He wore a full-face shield on his helmet, but was unable to provide more than an emotional boost.
Chara followed Rask onto the ice for the pregame skate, and he got a lengthy cheer for his introduction. The Bruins played a video of his highlights during an early whistle, and he went out of the way to deliver the game’s first hit, just 15 seconds in, on Brayden Schenn.
When things went bad later, the crowd tried to spur the team on with chants of “Chara!”
But the 42-year-old defenseman’s toughness could only carry so far.
O’Reilly scored in the opening minute of the second period, backhanding in a rebound for his third goal in his last five periods. It was still 1-0 midway through the third when the referees disregarded a leg sweep by Tyler Bozak that knocked Noel Acciari out of the game.
Perron followed with a shot that banked off Rask’s pad and into the net. The fans responded with a vulgar chant and a shower of rally towels; the public address announcer eventually asked them to stop.
Boston did seem inspired — or at least desperate — and cut the deficit to one goal on a delayed penalty with about 6 1/2 minutes left. Torey Krug took a high stick to the face at the blue line but he played on, straightened his helmet and dished the puck to DeBrusk for a one-timer past Binnington.
Boston pulled Rask with a little more than a minute left and earned several chances, but couldn’t get the puck past Binnington.
NOTES: Binnington’s nine playoff road wins is the most by a rookie in NHL history. Ron Hextall won eight in 1987.
Derek Sanderson and Bobby Orr, the connection that gave the Bruins the game-winning goal against the Blues in the 1970 clincher, were the pregame banner wavers. Actors Michael J. Fox, Woody Harrelson and John Krasinski were in the crowd.
Blues D Vince Dunn was in the lineup after missing almost three weeks after taking a puck to the face. Boston D Matt Grzelcyk missed his third straight game. The Blues improved to 9-3 on the road in the playoffs.
The series returns to St. Louis, where the teams split Games 3 and 4. The Blues are 6-6 at home so far in the postseason.
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