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Blues' playoff run defined by memorable (weird?) moments

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

Weird.

That's the word Blues forward Pat Maroon used to describe his team's ability to defy the odds, bounce back and deliver clutch moments in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We have this belief system in here that's really… weird," Maroon said after scoring the game-winning goal with 1:38 left in Game 3. "I think our team does a really good job of responding now… We find ways to win hockey games and we do that."

Alexander Steen had a much more grounded way of describing it.

"Our group has a very strong belief system. (We're) a very passionate and energetic group," he said. "We just stick to our game plan and the way we want to play."

Let's stop and talk about that Game 3 for a second.

The St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars are two teams built on defensive structure - in fact, Dallas Stars Head Coach Jim Montgomery said before Game 1 he felt the teams are mirror images of each other in their style of play. Both teams also have goaltenders up for major awards - Jordan Binnington is a finalist for the Calder Trophy for the League's top rookie, while Ben Bishop is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the League's top goaltender.

Despite all that, the Blues and Stars had a weird sequence Monday in which they traded four goals in a span of 5 minutes and 16 seconds in the third period, but it was Maroon who got the last word. The kid who went to Oakville beat the kid that went to Chaminade.

No matter what you want to call the Blues' ability to respond - whether it's "weird" or just "sticking to the plan" - you can't argue that the Blues have provided several memorable moments thus far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Game 3 against the Stars was one of them.

Here are five more wild and crazy (weird?) moments that stand out:


1. Game 1 vs. Winnipeg

After trailing for much of Game 1 against the Winnipeg Jets, David Perron came through with a crucial goal in the third period to tie the game, setting up a heroic moment for Tyler Bozak, who scored the go-ahead goal with just 2:05 remaining in the third period to cap off a 2-1 comeback victory for the Blues at Bell MTS Place.

Video: STL@WPG, Gm1: Bozak pots Maroon's feed for late lead



2. Game 5 at Winnipeg - The Comeback

After losing two games at Enterprise Center to even the best-of seven series at 2-2, the Blues found themselves down 2-0 on the road in Game 5 after 40 minutes in a hostile environment in Winnipeg. But Ryan O'Reilly scored a power-play goal early in the third period, Brayden Schenn scored a controversial goal later and Jaden Schwartz - who hadn't scored yet in the postseason - buried the game-winner with 15 seconds remaining to stun the Jets, who would never recover in the series.

Then - after completing the epic comeback - the players skated right off the ice and into the locker room, without even the slightest hint of an on-ice celebration.

Weird, right?

Video: STL@WPG, Gm5: Schwartz tips in late go-ahead goal
 

3. Game 5 at Winnipeg - What The Hayes?

Jordan Binnington has made some incredible saves in his first run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the best save in Game 5 might have belonged to Jets' forward Kevin Hayes. With an opportunity to put his team ahead 3-0, Hayes redirected a shot through Binnington's pads and as the loose puck inched ever-so-close to the goal line, Hayes made one-last ditch attempt to push it over the line.

But… rather than batting the puck into the net, he actually cleared the puck out of the crease, giving defenseman Jay Bouwmeester a chance to clear it out of harm's way.

If that wasn't a weird play, we don't know what is.

Watch: Youtube Video



4. Schwartz's Streak

Having scored the game-winning goal in Game 5 with 15 seconds left, Schwartz didn't stop there.

The Blues forward would score four straight goals for the Blues - including a hat trick in Game 6 - to eliminate the Jets and send the Blues to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Now, after struggling offensively for much of the regular season, Schwartz is the Blues' leading goal scorer in the playoffs and is tied for the League lead in goals (6) in the postseason.

What a turn of events!

Video: WPG@STL, Gm6: Schwartz finishes hatty with slick move

 

5. There's No Place Like... the Road?

The Blues are 2-3 at Enterprise Center in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they're 4-0 on the road.

Yes, undefeated.

It's just the second time in franchise history the Blues have won four straight road games in the playoffs, matching a record previously set in 1969.

The most road wins the Blues have ever had in one playoff year was in 2016, when they won six road games and reached the Western Conference Final.

Usually, home-ice advantage is key. This year? The Blues are finding a home away from home.

Video: Second Round, Gm3: Blues @ Stars

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