Tonight, the National Hockey League ended its 2018-2019 season with Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The finals were being contested between the Boston Bruins of the Eastern Conference (Atlantic Division) and the St. Louis Blues of the Western Conference (Central Division), and the series was tied 3-3.
The entire series had been close. Boston won the first game, and then St. Louis tied the series in the second game. Boston won the third game, and St. Louis tied the series again in the fourth. Then, for a change, St. Louis won the fifth game, giving the Blues a chance to win the Stanley Cup on home ice. However, this time is was the Bruin’s turn to tie the series, sending it back to Boston for Game 7.
In this game, Boston came out aggressively, probably buoyed by the home fans, and looked at first to be the better team on this night, though St. Louis managed to keep them out of the net, despite a 2 minute Boston power play. As the game started closing in on the end of the 1st Period, the Blues managed to make the most of one of its few opportunities to that point. Ryan O’Reilly tipped in a shot from Jay Bouwmeester at 16:47 (additional assist: Alex Pietrangelo), scoring on only the 3rd shot in the period. St. Louis 1, Boston 0.
On the Blues’ very next shot on goal, Alex Pietrangelo scored at 19:52 (assist: Jaden Schwartz), just 8 seconds before the end of the 1st Period. St. Louis 2, Boston 0.
The 2nd Period remained scoreless, though the Bruins continued to have the bulk of shots on goal.
In the 3rd Period, the trend continued until Brayden Schenn managed to break through for another goal for the Blues at 11:25 (assists: Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz), giving them a comfortable lead with less than 9 minutes left. St. Louis 3, Boston 0.
Not even 3 minutes later, the Blues’ Zach Sanford scored his first career playoff goal at 15:22 (assist: David Perron, Ryan O’Reilly), essentially putting the game out of reach with less than 5 minutes to hold on. St. Louis 4, Boston 0.
In the “too little, too late” category, Matt Grzelcyk managed to score for the Bruins at 17:50 (assist: David Krejci) to prevent a shutout, but there was no celebration. That became the final score:
St. Louis Blues 4
Boston Bruins 1
The St. Louis Blues are the new NHL Champions and got to hoist the Stanley Cup for the first time. What made this particularly poignant was that this was the 52nd season for the St. Louis Blues, the longest time for any franchise to go without winning the Stanley Cup. Additionally, the last time these two teams had met in the playoffs was in 1970 when they lost to the Bruins is a sweep. Unbelievably, they were in last place on January 3 (just 160 days ago). Now, they are Champions.
Ryan O’Reilly won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the NHL playoffs; he had 7 goals and 14 assists (21 points) during the playoffs, including one of each tonight.