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Stanley Cup Final

McAvoy's key play on defense helps Bruins win Game 6 of Cup Final

Prevents potential goal by knocking puck out of air against Blues

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Charlie McAvoy used his awareness and a little puck luck to help the Boston Bruins extend the Stanley Cup Final with a 5-1 win against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 at Enterprise Center on Sunday.

The best-of-7 series will be decided at Boston on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Leading St. Louis 1-0 in the second period, Boston went on the penalty kill after Brad Marchand was called for tripping Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo at 9:11. Following a failed clearing attempt by Bruins forward Noel Acciari, Vince Dunn gathered the puck at the right point for a slap shot. The rebound kicked out to Pietrangelo, who had skated down to the left face-off dot, and his backhand shot hit the right post before deflecting off Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask's back.

 

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With the puck headed toward the goal line, McAvoy got his stick in before Blues forward Jaden Schwartz could locate the puck and batted it back toward Rask, who turned away from the net and reached back with his glove as Patrice Bergeron cleared the rebound from danger.

"It happened so fast," the Bruins defenseman said. "I saw it go off the post and off [Rask's] back and kind of just ... it was a split-second reflex.

"I didn't know if it was going in or going wide. I just swatted at it. Just reflexes."

Video: McAvoy on the quiet confidence that helped win Game 6

Rask made 28 saves in Game 6, including 12 on the penalty kill, but admitted he got a bit lucky on Pietrangelo's rebound and was grateful for McAvoy's assistance.

"Actually, I saw the replay after (when) I was doing an interview," Rask said. "So it hit the post, and then it kind of was bouncing there. I think [McAvoy] hit it with his stick and I kind of heard it. I didn't know where it was, and I figured it might be somewhere behind me, so I just tried to corral it with my hand behind my back and then it stuck in my pants and then it fell somewhere. But I think [McAvoy] made a great play to keep it out of the net. It's never a good thing to be facing the play with your back, but luckily it stayed out."

The timing of McAvoy's play was key because it prevented the Blues from shifting the momentum.

"We did have some good looks and some good chances, but you need the result," St. Louis center Ryan O'Reilly said. "There were a few times there where it could have given us the spark we needed, to grab the momentum. Unfortunately, we didn't."

The Bruins went on to score four third-period goals.

"Second period, 1-0, we wanted to preserve that lead," McAvoy said. "[Rask] stood on his head and gave us a chance to do so, and whatever I could do, I just tried to do. Just a split-second play and I was really more thankful than anything that it stayed out of the net."

Video: BOS@STL, Gm6: McAvoy bats puck off the goal line

McAvoy's play was one of many that went the Bruins' way Sunday. 

At 2:31 of the third period, Brandon Carlo, who scored two goals in the regular season, gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead when his knuckling shot from the point bounced up off the ice and went under Blues goalie Jordan Binnington's blocker. 

That was followed by Karson Kuhlman, who scored his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal at 10:15 to make it 3-0.

"It's a game of inches, and that's gone the other way at some other points in the series and in the playoffs," said Kuhlman, who was playing his first game since April 30 (Game 3 against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference Second Round). "So it was nice to get that one, for sure."

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