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Stanley Cup Final

Gunnarsson makes most of second chance for Blues in Game 2 of Cup Final

Defenseman scores in OT after hitting post late in third against Bruins

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON -- It was a bathroom conversation that will go down in St. Louis Blues history.

Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson was thinking about his shot that clanked off the post late in the third period when he ran into Blues coach Craig Berube in the restroom during the intermission before the start of overtime.

"I just told him I needed one more," Gunnarsson said.

Gunnarsson made good on his vow by scoring 3:51 into overtime to give the Blues a 3-2 win against the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on Wednesday.

The first Stanley Cup Playoff goal of Gunnarsson's career gave the Blues the first Stanley Cup Final win in their history and evened the best-of-7 series 1-1. Game 3 is at St. Louis on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"He had a [heck] of a game, I thought, and I'm really happy for him that he ended up getting that game-winner," Berube said. "He hit the post in the third there, and he felt good about himself, obviously, which he should have."

Tweet from @StLouisBlues: Carl Gunnarsson told Chief he needed just "one more chance" while standing side-by-side at the urinal. #stlblues #WeAllBleedBlue pic.twitter.com/l8ID419sNC

Gunnarsson's goal came during a delayed penalty against the Bruins. St. Louis forward Alexander Steen was pulled down by Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo when he drove to the net with the puck, and the Blues were able to get an extra attacker on the ice and set up in the Bruins zone.

Ryan O'Reilly, who jumped on to replace goalie Jordan Binnington, fed Gunnarsson for a one-timer from the right point that went past a screen by teammate Alex Pietrangelo in front and beat goalie Tuukka Rask inside the left post.

"Our game plan was to take Tuukka's eyes away," Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson said. "So [Pietrangelo] had a good screen, and Carl got the shot through."

It reminded the Blues of a goal Gunnarsson scored against Rask in a 5-2 loss Jan. 17. Gunnarsson has scored four of his 28 NHL regular-season goals against Boston in 26 games, but this one was the biggest of his career.

"Yeah, no doubt," the 32-year-old said. "I don't score too many, but nothing comes even close, so it's a pretty good feeling right now."

Video: STL@BOS, Gm2: Gunnarsson wins it for Blues in OT

Gunnarsson was feeling differently after his slap shot from the top of the left face-off circle struck the right post with 1:57 left in the third. He had an open look and said he struck the shot "as hard as I can hit it." He saw it sail over Rask's glove before hitting the post and dropping in the crease.

"I know I got it past him, and I saw it sitting in the crease there too," Gunnarsson said. "I was hoping for someone to poke it in. Didn't happen, but obviously very lucky to get it in the OT."

Video: STL@BOS, Gm2: Gunnarsson hits the post late in 3rd

It seemed fitting that a defenseman wearing No. 4 scored in overtime in a Stanley Cup Final game between the Blues and Bruins. Defenseman Bobby Orr, who wore No. 4 in his Hockey Hall of Fame career, scored the Cup-clinching goal for Boston in overtime the last time the teams met in the Cup Final, in 1970.

That goal inspired a statue that stands outside TD Garden. Gunnarsson probably won't get a statue for his, but it will hold a place in history for the Blues, who were 0-13 in Cup Final games, including 0-5 against the Bruins, before winning Game 2.

"I guess that's a little bonus," Gunnarsson said. "That's pretty cool if you think about it that way. Pretty sure we're not going to stop here."

The Blues feel they have something special going and showed their resilience again by rebounding from a 4-2 loss to the Bruins in Game 1 on Monday. Gunnarsson is their latest unlikely scoring hero, joining defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, whose first NHL playoff goal was the winner in a 4-2 victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks.

Video: STL@BOS, Gm2: Gunnarsson breaks down overtime winner

Gunnarsson was a healthy scratch for the first three games of that series and got back in the lineup for Game 4 after defenseman Vince Dunn was struck in the mouth by a shot in Game 3. With Dunn close to returning, it appeared he might push Gunnarsson out of the lineup for Game 2 of the Cup Final.

But Dunn wasn't quite ready, giving Gunnarsson another opportunity.

"I'm so happy for him," Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said. "It's just tremendous. He's a guy that works so hard, that does all the little things the right way, and for him to be rewarded like that, it's deserved. You watch him out there, he's so sound, that he makes the right play all the time. He's a player that plays the right way. He never makes mistakes, and to have a player like that who might fly under the radar … that is just tremendous. I'm so happy for him. A fellow D-man, it just puts a smile on my face."

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