ST. LOUIS — Ryan O’Reilly scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period for his second of the night, and the St. Louis Blues thrived in a chaotic Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night to beat the Boston Bruins, 4-2, and tie the series at two games apiece.
O’Reilly ended an eight-game goal drought by scoring 43 seconds into the game and with 9 minutes 22 seconds left in the third period. The game was a back-and-forth thriller, with Boston’s Tuukka Rask and St. Louis’s Jordan Binnington each giving up plenty of rebounds for frantic scoring chances and scrums. Boston’s captain, Zdeno Chara, was knocked out of the game by a puck to the mouth.
Vladimir Tarasenko also scored for the Blues, and Binnington, a rookie, made 21 saves to improve to 7-2 in the playoffs after a loss. Even more impressive was Binnington’s bounce-back from being pulled in Game 3 for the first time in his N.H.L. career.
Rask allowed three goals on 37 shots and was at times on the receiving end of Blues onslaughts. Charlie Coyle scored for the third consecutive game, and Brandon Carlo had a short-handed goal for Boston, which was worn out by going down to five defensemen again after Chara left the ice bloodied.
“It’s anyone’s game now,” Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist said.
Game 5 is Thursday night in Boston.
O’Reilly was dominant all over the ice after a bad Game 3 in which he lost the majority of his face-offs and couldn’t get anything going. He had a multigoal game for the first time since November.
Seconds before puck drop, Brett Hull, the Blues alumnus and Hockey Hall of Famer, screamed into the microphone at the top of his lungs to pump up the crowd: “Are you ready? Let’s go, Blues!”
The crowd was ready, all right, and O’Reilly’s early goal came after Rask allowed the first of many juicy rebounds off a shot from defenseman Vince Dunn. Zach Sanford retrieved the puck, and O’Reilly tucked the it inside the post on a wraparound.
It was the sixth time in the playoffs that St. Louis had scored in the opening two minutes, which it has now done in all four rounds. The Blues are 6-0 in those games.
Coyle continued his hot run by tying it at 13:14 in when Binnington allowed a big rebound on a shot by Chara. Coyle has nine playoff goals and is building a decent case to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff M.V.P.
Less than two and a half minutes after Coyle’s goal, Tarasenko scored on a rebound off a shot by Alex Pietrangelo to give the lead back to the Blues going into the first intermission. St. Louis improved to 7-3 when leading after 20 minutes.
The Blues responded well to a mistake on special teams in the second period.
After St. Louis cycled the puck in the offensive zone for several minutes, exhausting Boston defenders, Connor Clifton took a penalty for an illegal check to the head of Tarasenko. Twenty-six seconds into the Blues power play, the Bruins inexplicably got numbers on a rush and Carlo scored short-handed to tie it again.
It was the fourth short-handed goal St. Louis has allowed in the playoffs, against only 13 power-play goals.
After trading power plays in the third period, O’Reilly scored on another Rask rebound on a Pietrangelo shot midway through the third period. With St. Louis leading, fans could happily sing John Denver’s “Country Roads” at the under six-minute timeout, and Brayden Schenn sealed it with an empty-net goal with 1:29 left.
When the final horn sounded, Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” played to celebrate the Blues’ first-ever home victory in the Stanley Cup finals.
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