Congratulations to the Blues on their first Stanley Cup victory in history. It has been 52 years of long and unfruitful existence before tonight. It’s only fitting they did it in a season in which they were dead last only three months before the end of the regular season. That’s a story we’ll tell future hockey fans when we’re old and gray.
And congratulations to Dom for getting to do what only some folks at this blog were able to do, a long time ago. One day, I hope we Islanders fans (all of us, but especially those of us too young to ever see or understand the Isles’ Cup wins) get to enjoy the same celebration — the kind of celebration the Blues were having on the ice, while the guy working the censor button took a coffee break. I think I counted seven iterations of the f-bomb during the raising of the Cup before they took that first commercial break. It was so bad that Doc Emrick had to apologize when they returned, and I was cracking up.
Blues Win the Cup
The final score was 4-1. Before the game started, if I’d said to you I’d come from the future and told you what the final score of Game 7 was but told you to watch the game to find out who it was that won, there’s a good chance you would have said the Bruins until there were about 7 seconds left in the first period. That was when defenseman and team captain Alex Pietrangelo took a great set-up by Jaden Schwartz, deked, and backhanded like a star forward the puck under the arm of Tuukka Rask to make it 2-0 St. Louis.
This game had an eerily similar feel to the previous two of the series, and especially Game 5: the home team comes out flying in the first period but comes away without a goal of its own, conceding a goal on one of the road team’s first real offensive chances. Tonight, Jordan Binnington withstood the Boston onslaught as he did in Boston in Game 5 before Ryan O’Reilly tipped home the first goal on the Blues’ third shot of the game.
Entering the second with a 2-0 lead, the Blues went into shutdown mode as they did when taking the lead in Game 5. Gone was the boost from a boisterous home crowd for the Bruins; in its place was a Boston squad that had trouble penetrating the offensive zone and finding few, if any, second chance opportunities when they did. All the while, their crowd grew more anxious and more restless.
And then, in the third, the Blues started to put it away. It felt like the next goal was going to determine the fate of the game — if Boston got it, they’d push until they at least got overtime; if St. Louis got it, the game was over. With just under ten minutes remaining, it was, effectively, over. Vladimir Tarasenko chased down a chip into the offensive zone and, seeing Brayden Schenn over his shoulder, dished to him as he cut down the middle. Schenn fired immediately to Rask’s lower left, and from there it would take a Bruins miracle. It wouldn’t come.
Instead, Boston area-native Zach Sanford added a fourth insurance goal of his own to truly put the game out of reach with less than 5 minutes to go. The only consolation the Bruins got from the evening was spoiling the shutout of Binnington with a couple minutes to go, but who the hell cares about a shutout when you’re a formality’s amount of time away from a Stanley Cup?
The moment many have waited a lifetime to see happen!!! Celebrate, St. Louis!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/xTzDHsiO8Z— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) June 13, 2019
- Arthur Staple examines the Islanders’ trade options this summer to upgrade the forward corps, specifically the wings, and whether or not there’s a match to be made. [The Athletic]
- LISTEN: The Isles Buzz podcast hosted a new episode in which Dan and Noel discussed the likelihood that Isles GM Lou Lamoriello selects goalie prospect Spencer Knight with the 23rd pick, should he be available then. [LHH]
This is really a Ducks story, but it contains a nice tidbit for Islanders fans: as Anaheim’s coaching search starts to wind down, some candidates have been eliminated from contention. Islanders assistant Lane Lambert is one of them. It sucks for him that he didn’t get the opportunity to be head coach yet, but we’re more than happy to have him back. [The Athletic]
- I posted his tweet about it the other day, but Anders Lee is teaming up with Kevin Shattenkirk for a joint Kancer Jam in New York. [Islanders]
- PHOTOS: Do you like dogs? Of course you do! Check out how Radar’s guide dog training is going. [Islanders]
Stanley Cup Final Coverage
- The St. Louis Blues, for the first time in their 52 year history, are Stanley Cup Champions. [SLGT]
- Full coverage by the NHL’s website can be found here, including how the city of St. Louis is celebrating the victory. [NHL]
- Ryan O’Reilly, who had the first goal of the game and goals in each of the last four games of the Cup Final, won the Conn Smythe Trophy. [NHL | Sportsnet | CBC]
- And he did it all with a cracked rib, which he suffered in Game 7 of the Second Round against the Stars. Daaaaang. [Yahoo]
- It took falling “out of love” with the game last spring for O’Reilly to end up in St. Louis. I think he loves it quite a bit now. [THN]
- Captain Alex Pietrangelo raised the Cup briefly upon being awarded it, but he very quickly handed it off to elder statesman of the team, Jay Bouwmeester. Bouwmeester, you’ll remember, is famous for having played the most NHL games before his first playoff appearance a few years ago, which was with the Blues. [NHL]
- The Blues’ worst-to-first story, capping it off with their first-ever Stanley Cup, is unlike anything else in NHL history — probably in the history of professional sports. It’s gotta be one of the best stories of all-time. [Sportsnet]
- So, just how did they do it? [NHL]
- Matt Grzelcyk was cleared to play last night and ended up scoring the garbage time goal that ended Binnington’s perfect performance. [ESPN]
- David Backes was deservedly scratched by the Bruins for Game 7, as his effectiveness just isn’t really there anymore, but it sucks. It would have been a hell of a story line no matter who won. [Yahoo]
- Blues superfan Laila Anderson was surprised with the opportunity to fly to Boston to see Game 7 last night, courtesy of the Blues. That must have been an amazing sight for her to see. [NHL]
- Bruce Bennett, a born and raised Long Island photographer who has captured Islanders games for decades with Getty Images, worked his 39th straight Stanley Cup Final this year. [NHL]
- O’Reilly bought a Bruins fan a new guitar the night before Game 7; perhaps that was some good luck? [NHL]
- The Cup was used as a milk holder on Fallon, which definitely isn’t the only beverage it will hold this summer. [NHL]
- In The Office feud between Pam and Jim, Michael Scott chose a side. And he chose... poorly. [NHL]
And I think Pam might be drunk. But I would be too — hell, I’d still be drunk — if the Islanders won the Cup.
I love you St. Louis! I love all of you who watched this game at Enterprise Center. I love all of you who watched in the pouring rain from Busch Stadium. From viewing parties and at home! We All Bleed Blue! Congratulations @StLouisBlues Stanley Cup Winners! https://t.co/sGib9JunPl— Jenna Fischer (@jennafischer) June 13, 2019
The Blues are definitely drunk! And they’re heading back to St. Louis to party some more.
Oh Yeah, There’s Still Other Crap Going On
- The Rangers are rumored to be having a busy summer, and buyouts are on the table, with defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and Brendan Smith the two most likely candidates. [NY Post]
- New Oilers GM Ken Holland sat down for a Q&A that covered the draft, buyouts, free agency, and what his plans are for his team, as well as how he plans to get there. [The Athletic]
- Jeff Skinner believes the future is bright for the Sabres, and that helped him sign. [NHL]
- Spencer Foo is leaving the Flames organization after only two seasons and four NHL games, heading to the Kunlun Red Star of the KHL. He’ll get a chance to compete for China at the 2022 Olympics. [M&G]
- Eric Lindros, whose career was famously altered by a few severe concussions, is backing efforts to prevent them in Canada. [ESPN]
- Stan Fischler wrote a special piece for the NHL’s site in which he compares current Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist to a Rangers goalie of yore, Chuck Rayner. [NHL]
- Scott Wheeler identifies 10 draft prospects with lots of hype that your team should probably avoid. By the way Scott, the Maple Leafs almost beat the team that almost won the Stanley Cup. [The Athletic]