The St. Louis Blues won Thursday night in Boston, 2–1, to take a 3–2 lead in the Stanley Cup Final. If Game 5 was the last hockey game of the season in Boston, the lasting image of the home finale will be trash raining down on the ice as furious Bruins fans expressed their displeasure with the way the series’ rough officiating came to a head Thursday night.
Before we get to the controversy, we should take a moment to appreciate the first St. Louis goal, because it featured an incredibly slick between-the-legs assist from Zach Sanford:
And we should note the brilliance of Blues goalie Jordan Binnington, who stopped 38 shots Thursday night, including a whopping 17 in the first period, when the Bruins seemed primed to dominate the action. Binnington’s early heroics allowed the Blues to take a 1–0 lead into the third period, and Boston’s eventual breakthrough came after the Blues had already struck a second time.
But it’s that second Blues goal that will ultimately be what Boston fans remember from this one. The Bruins had possession midway through the third period when Tyler Bozak of the Blues appeared to upend Noel Acciari deep in Boston territory, creating a turnover that led immediately to St. Louis’s second goal:
Bozak’s body language tells quite a tale—immediately after the trip, he turns toward center ice, slouches, and raises his hands as if to say “what’d I do?” He anticipated the whistle, and when none came, the Blues struck quickly for the decisive goal. As you can imagine, that sequence is the kind of thing that will drive a team executive crazy. Like, for example, Bruins president Cam Neely, who took his frustrations out on a poor water bottle.
The Bruins grabbed a goal with about six and a half minutes left in the period, but Binnington settled back in and stopped another five shots on goal in the last three minutes of the game to secure the win. The Bruins had their chances:
After it was over, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was pissed, and didn’t hold much back in his post-game presser, describing the officiating in this series as a “black eye” on the NHL and saying that his Bruins “got screwed”:
The Blues will have a chance to close out the series in St. Louis on Sunday.