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Stanley Cup Final

Binnington 'unbelievable' for Blues in Game 5 win in Cup Final

Makes 38 saves against Bruins, ties rookie record for playoff victories

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Jordan Binnington said he doesn't keep tabs on which games have been his best.

The St. Louis Blues rookie goalie would rather leave that to his teammates.

As a result, many were saying his 38-save performance for the Blues in a 2-1 victory against the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday was at the top of the list. 

St. Louis leads the best-of-7 series 3-2 and can clinch the Cup on home ice in Game 6 on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"Unbelievable. I mean, obviously he won one for us here," Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said, shaking his head in disbelief. "It was a huge game by him. Very impressive. I don't really know. I could talk about that performance all day. It was unreal. Good for him. 

"That was awesome."

Video: Binnington stops 38 shots in the Blues Game 5 victory

Consider some of the stats Binnington had Thursday.

His 38 saves were tied for second most by a rookie in a regulation Cup Final game since 1956, behind Ron Hextall (Philadelphia Flyers, Game 7 in 1987) and Rogie Vachon (Montreal Canadiens, Game 2 in 1967), who each made 40.

The win was his 15th of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, tying the rookie record for most in a single postseason with Patrick Roy (Canadiens, 1986), Hextall, Cam Ward (Carolina Hurricanes, 2006), and Matt Murray (Pittsburgh Penguins, 2016).

It was also his ninth road win of the postseason, passing Hextall for the most by a rookie in playoff history.

Blues coach Craig Berube, who played for the Flyers in 1987, laughed when asked to compare Binnington and Hextall. 

"Well, they're different," he said. "They're different people for sure. So I can't compare them that way. But I can compare, though, just the outstanding play from a rookie goalie in the National Hockey League in the playoffs. I was part of that team back then with Ron Hextall as our goalie, and now seeing [Binnington], he takes a different approach to the game but is getting the same results."

 

[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage | Blues head home one win from first Cup title]

 

The results have shown just how calm, cool and collected he is. 

Binnington was greeted by chants of "You look nervous!" by Winnipeg Jets fans in the Western Conference First Round.

St. Louis went 3-0 on the road in that series and eliminated the Jets in six games.

Binnington was jeered by Dallas Stars fans after he hacked Stars goalie Ben Bishop at the end of the second period in Game 4 of the second round.

The Blues lost that game but won the series in seven games, including avoiding elimination on the road in Game 6.

The San Jose Sharks gave him the Bronx cheer in the conference final, but again, it didn't faze him. He allowed two goals in the final three games of the six-game series as the Blues advanced to the Cup Final for the first time since 1970.

Binnington simply doesn't get rattled very often. And when he does show nerves, he responds by playing his best.

After allowing five goals on 19 shots and getting pulled in Game 3 of the Cup Final, he's responded by stopping 59 of 62 shots (.952 save percentage) the past two games.

Video: Blues on cusp of first Cup title after 2-1 win

Now, he and his teammates are one victory away from hoisting the Cup for the first time in Blues history.

"I just play," Binnington said. "The rest is just noise. Just want to play hard for my teammates. Do my job and let the rest take care of itself."

On Thursday, he was at his best in the first period, keeping the game scoreless when Boston outshot St. Louis 17-8.

"We knew they were going to come hard," Binnington said. "The first period was huge. Trust each other, stay with it. (We) got better as the game went on. 

"We're one game away. That first period is huge so stay composed. Be disciplined."

One more win, and Binnington will have the record for most wins (16) by a rookie goalie in playoff history. But more importantly, it will mean he'll get his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.

For Binnington, that's all that matters.

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