BOSTON — After a 49-year hiatus, the St. Louis Blues still haven’t won a game in the Stanley Cup Final.
After being swept in their first three appearances in the Final, which came in the franchise’s first three seasons, the Blues took a 2-0 lead early in the second period but saw it get away from them in that same period, as Boston pulled even, and went on to win 4-2, taking the lead on a goal by Sean Kuraly in the third period of Game 1 on Monday night at TD Garden and then adding an empty-net goal with 1:49 to play.
On the decisive goal, Jordan Binnington stopped a shot by Zdeno Chara but couldn’t control the rebound. Noel Acciari kept the puck alive and passed across the crease to Kuraly, who was able to steady the puck and shoot past Joel Edmundson and Binnington to give the Bruins their first lead of the game.
It was only the second time the Blues had blown a two-goal lead and lost in the past four months.
After a fairly even first period, Boston dominated the final two, outshooting the Blues 25-7 at one stretch that ran deep into the third period.
It looked like things were going the Blues way at the start of the second. One minute into the period, Brayden Schenn picked up a loose puck near the Boston goal, skated it behind the Boston net and passed in front to Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored to run his point streak to seven games. It was his ninth goal of the playoffs and tied him for the fourth longest point streak in Blues postseason history.
The lead was cut in half 1:16 later when Connor Clifton had a shot by Sean Kuraly deflect in off his skate 2:16 into the period.
The Bruins then got their third and fourth power plays of the night, including a penalty on Joel Edmundson for high sticking David Backes, which led to Blues and Bruins grabbing each other. On the second penalty of the period, a cross checking call on Oskar Sundqvist, the Bruins scored with 23 seconds remaining in it when Charlie McAvoy gathered up a short clearance after a flurry of Bruins chances and beat Jordan Binnington from outside. That goal came with 7:19 remaining in the period, and after that, it was a matter of hanging on for dear life. The Bruins had some more chances, but the Blues got through.
It’s the second time this postseason the Blues have let a two-goal lead get away. The other was Game 2 against San Jose, but in that one, they rebounded and got the win. There have been 38 multigoal comebacks in Stanley Cup Final history, the most recent before this in Game 2 of the 2014 final when the Kings won in double overtime.
Pulling even ended what must have been a weird feeling for the Bruins. They trailed more to the Blues in this game than they did in the entire Eastern Conference final with Carolina, 13:08. Still, by keeping the game tied, the Blues have not trailed in 229:20 of playing time when the second ended.
Schenn scored as the Blues took the early lead in their return to the Stanley Cup Final.
It’s the first appearance for the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final since May 10, 1970, when they lost 4-3 in overtime to Boston in Game 4.
Just 7:23 into the game, Schenn got a rebound of a shot by Jay Bouwmeester that deflected off Jaden Schwartz and, with time in the slot, went to the top corner to beat Tuukka Rask. It was the third goal of the playoffs for Schenn and his second in as many games after he scored a key goal in Game 6 against San Jose that gave the Blues a two-goal lead.
It was the first goal scored by the Blues in the Cup Final since Larry Keenan scored 19 seconds into the third period of that Boston game.
The Blues had an early power play but couldn’t score and Boston had two power plays on which they didn’t score. On the first, Boston’s Marcus Johansson split the Blues defense and came in on Binnington, but his shot hit off the right post. The Blues’ penalties were on David Perron and Robert Thomas.
For the period, the teams were even in shots on goal at eight each. The Blues had 15 shot attempts to Boston’s 14.