Pat Maroon celebrates with the Stanley cup at the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final on June 12, 2019 in Boston.
It sure didn’t look like it would end this way in January.
Left for dead in last place on January 3, the long wait is over for the St. Louis Blues. After joining the NHL in its initial expansion in 1967, the Blues won the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history with a 4-1 victory on the road over the Boston Bruins in Game 7 on Wednesday night.
Among the U.S.-born players on the roster who helped them do it were forwards Pat Maroon and Zach Sanford, both of whom played in the deciding game. Sanford, who was born in Salem, Massachusetts and played at Boston College, scored the fourth goal of the game when he finished off a pass from winger David Perron late in the third period to crush any lingering hope Bruins fans might have had of their team coming back.
For Maroon, the win holds an extra-special significance. Maroon was born in St. Louis and signed a one-year deal with his hometown team in July 2018. He also scored the game-winning goal in double-overtime of Game 7 against the Dallas Stars in the second round of the playoffs. A member of the 2016 U.S. team at the world championships, Maroon also led the U.S. men’s inline hockey team to a gold medal at the 2010 world championships.
The big hero of Game 7, however, was Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, who made 32 saves in the victory. Up until Ryan O’Reilly redirected Jay Bouwmeester’s shot from the point at 16:47 of the first period, all the action had taken place in the Blues’ defensive zone. Binnington made 12 stops in the first period alone, including a number of chances on a Bruins power play midway through the first period, to keep his team in it until they could get a few opportunities of their own.
Captain Alex Pietrangelo scored what would end up being the winner with eight seconds left in the first period for the Blues’ second goal on their fourth shot. The score remained 2-0 until Braden Schenn made it 3-0 with eight and a half minutes left in the game. Binnington made a host of impressive stops the rest of the game before losing the shutout bid in the final minutes.
Among the U.S.-born players on the Bruins roster were Torey Krug, who was third in playoff scoring for the team with two goals and 16 assists for 18 points, and Charlie Coyle, who was fifth with nine goals and seven assists for 16 points. On the roster but not playing in Game 7 was Olympic medalist and former Blue David Backes.