St. Louis Blues forward Ryan O'Reilly is redefining what it means to be clutch during this year's Stanley Cup Final, coming up huge during the first period of Wednesday's Game 7 against the Boston Bruins.
Don't let the St. Louis Blues take a lead.
The 19-year-old returned to action in Game 6 after missing the last four games of the Stanley Cup Final with a wrist injury.
O'Reilly was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. That he would be included alongside some of the greatest players in history was hard for him to imagine Wednesday night. "I'm sure everyone pictured it differently, and we believed that it was there for us. This is everything I've ever wanted in the game of hockey".
Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo added a second goal to close out the first period, one in which the visitors were largely dominated by the Bruins. It was the 17th time in league history that the championship series went to seven games.
The game was played at TD Garden in Boston. Without a doubt, one day they will get there, and. "Because we're the Blues". It took the full seven games, but the Stanley Cup belongs to the Blues.
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Binnington, who was pulled from a 7-2 loss in Game 3, took a shutout into the final minutes, and the Blues were never really in danger after scoring twice in the final few minutes of the first period.
Bouwmeester played in 1,184 regular-season games - the third most among active players who had not gotten their names etched on the Stanley Cup.
"Once we pulled it together, we were tough to beat", said coach Craig Berube, who took over when Mike Yeo was sacked in November. "I've been waiting a long time, and I'm pretty honoured that he gave it to me". I think I'm just so proud of this team and what this team was able to accomplish.
Their style of game translates perfectly to playing with a lead, a recipe that led to them finishing off Boston 4-1 in Game 7 and lifting the Stanley Cup. The franchise made the championship series in three consecutive seasons out of expansion but failed to win a single game in those appearances, losing to Boston in its last bid on Bobby Orr's iconic overtime victor.
The turnaround was especially sweet for Blues left winger Pat Maroon. But O'Reilly had just three goals in his first 22 post-season games.
"It means the world to me to bring the Stanley Cup back to St. Louis, being from St. Louis, being a Blues fan all my life, to put this jersey on and be with the boys", he said.