ST. LOUIS -- Jordan Binnington couldn't help himself.
The frustration of the St. Louis Blues goalie bubbled over during the first television time out of the second period in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center on Saturday. As Binnington skated past Tuukka Rask on his way to the bench, he bumped the Boston Bruins goalie.
"It was a 4-0 game. I wasn't happy. It's how I reacted," Binnington said. "It's a long series, right? It's something I did, and we're moving on."
Give Binnington credit. He made no attempt to hide his actions when asked about the incident after the Bruins' 7-2 victory.
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He also said his play must improve if the Blues are to keep their championship aspirations alive. The Bruins have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series with Game 4 on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).
"I've got to be better," Binnington said. "I've got to do a better job giving my team a chance to win."
Binnington allowed five goals on 19 shots before coach Craig Berube replaced him with Jake Allen 12:12 into the second period. It was the first time Binnington had been pulled in 52 NHL starts.
In the end, the rookie played like, well, a rookie. Now come the questions.
Can he bounce back from the worst game of his young NHL career? Can he overcome these snippets of emotional outbursts like he had with Rask?
History shows that he can.
He's 12-2 with a 1.82 goals-against average after a loss, but his ability to bounce back cuts much deeper than the numbers.
Video: Bruins exploit, chase Binnington for first time
Binnington lost his composure in a 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars in Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round on May 1. The Stars were up 4-1 when he responded to the chirping of Jamie Benn by whacking the Stars captain with his glove at the end of the second period. He then gave Stars goalie Ben Bishop a hack when he skated by on his way to the dressing room.
Binnington received two minor penalties, for roughing Benn and slashing Bishop. The next day, Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said Binnington had lost his cool.
When Binnington was informed of Montgomery's comments prior to Game 5, he replied: "Who's Montgomery?"
"The Dallas coach," he was told by a reporter.
"Oh," he said.
Not the calm and collected response of someone who's rattled. He went on to help the Blues win two of the next three games to eliminate the Stars.
Binnington's temper boiled over again during a 5-4 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final on May 15. The winning goal by Erik Karlsson was set up by an apparent hand pass that wasn't called, causing an angry Binnington to smash his stick against the glass.
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Would losing his cool carry over to Game 4? Hardly. Binnington helped the Blues win the next three games to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, allowing two goals in the final 180 minutes.
Binnington's penchant for bouncing back is the reason his teammates aren't concerned about him heading into Game 4 against the Bruins.
"It's not his fault at all," forward David Perron said. "I'm sure he's disappointed, but it has nothing to do [with him]. There's one reason we're here, it's because of him."
Perron was asked what the Blues needed to say to their rookie goaltender.
"I don't think we'll have to say too much," he said. "He's really strong mentally and he's the main reason why we're here, and we know how good he's going to play the next game."
In order to do that he'll have to erase memories of the nightmare he endured Saturday.
"Your approach is the same," Binnington said. "It's the Stanley Cup Final. Lots to play for. You prepare the same way. Believe in your teammates and believe in yourself. You've got to do your job.
"You just have to handle adversity. It's not going to be perfect. These things will happen. You just regroup and move on."