ST. LOUIS – It usually takes a lucky bounce here and there to win the Stanley Cup.
Game 4 of the final between the Bruins and the Blues had a whole lot of bounces — and not a lot of luck for goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Jordan Binnington.
Whether it was nerves, fatigue or simply traffic in front, Rask and Binnington each gave up rebounds aplenty and both teams cashed in on the prime scoring chances Monday night. The Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo pounded a slapshot that seemed to handcuff Rask and the juicy rebound left the puck in midair where Ryan O’Reilly swatted it into the net.
The goal put the Blues up 3-2 and turned out to the game-winner in the 4-2 victory that knotted the final at 2-2.
Binnington chalked up the second-chance goals to smart shooting.
“Players were doing a good job and shooting the puck, but you know, yeah, there were some rebounds tonight but nothing out of the ordinary, I’d say,” Binnington said.
Both of O’Reilly’s goals came off rebounds. He took a rebound off a Zach Sanford shot behind the net and beat Rask on a wraparound to the right side just 43 seconds into the game.
Former Wild winger Charlie Coyle evened things up with 6:46 left in the first after he found himself alone in front of the Blues net to bang home the rebound from a Zdeno Chara shot.
The Blues took advantage of another second-chance opportunity at 15:30 in the first. This time it was Vladimir Tarasenko pouncing on a big rebound in the slot off a Pietrangelo shot to make it 2-1.
“To find your chances, you need to go in the red zones and score some greasy goals maybe,” Tarasenko said. “If you look on our goals, it pays off for us. It kind of was the game plan, so we try to keep it same way and create traffic for Rask and try to get rebounds.”
Rask struggled again during a Boston power play in the second period as O’Reilly almost poked in his own rebound on a shorthanded rush.
“You try to control them all, but sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t,” Rask said.
The Bruins capitalized shorthanded at 14:19 of the second as Brandon Carlo found the back of the net for the first time this postseason after Binnington couldn’t handle a Patrice Bergeron shot with the puck caroming off his pad.