The St. Louis Blues are headed to the NHL final four for the eighth time since entering the League in 1967.
Pat Maroon tapped a rebound past Dallas Stars goalie and fellow St. Louis native Ben Bishop at 5:50 of the second overtime to give the Blues a 2-1 win in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round at Enterprise Center on Tuesday. It was the third Game 7 in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs to require overtime, the most in one playoff year in NHL history.
The Blues advanced to the Western Conference Final for the second time in four seasons; they lost to the San Jose Sharks in 2016 after defeating Dallas in seven games in the second round. St. Louis also reached the conference finals/NHL Semifinals in 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1986 and 2001. The Blues defeated the Stars/Minnesota North Stars in a Game 7 in 1968 and 1972, as well as in 2016 and 2019.
Maroon became the seventh player in Blues history to score a series-clinching goal in overtime and the third to do so against the Stars/North Stars. Ron Schock did it in Game 7 of the 1968 Semifinals and Kevin O'Shea got the OT winner in Game 7 of the 1972 Quarterfinals. Maroon is also the third Blues player to score a series-clinching goal in a game that required multiple overtime periods. Schock's goal in Game 7 of the 1968 Semifinals was the first and Mike Crombeen scored in double overtime in Game 5 of the 1981 Preliminary Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
St. Louis will face the winner of Game 7 between the Sharks and Colorado Avalanche at SAP Center on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS) in the Western Conference Final. The Blues lost to the Avalanche in five games in the 2001 conference final and in six to the Sharks in 2016. They're 2-3 in five postseason series against San Jose and 0-1 against Colorado.
Video: Bishop, Hintz's miss, Maroon cap a memorable Game 7
Stars come up short despite Bishop's heroics
Bishop, who grew up in St. Louis and began his NHL career with his hometown team after being selected by the Blues in the third round (No. 85) of the 2005 NHL Draft, made 52 saves in his third Game 7. He is 2-1 with an 0.58 goals-against average, .981 save percentage and two shutouts in winner-take-all games. Bishop is also 6-5 in potential series-clinching games with a 1.86 GAA, .945 save percentage and four shutouts.
His 52 saves were the fifth-most in a Game 7 since 1955-56 behind Kelly Hrudey of the New York Islanders in the 1987 Patrick Division Semifinals (73), Wade Flaherty of the Sharks in the 1995 Western Conference Quarterfinals (56), Bob Mason of the Washington Capitals in the 1987 Patrick Division Semifinals (54) and Frank Pietrangelo of the Hartford Whalers in the 1992 Adams Division Semifinals (53).
Rookies Binnington, Thomas sparkle for Blues
Jordan Binnington (29 saves) and Robert Thomas (two assists) each made a big impact in Game 7.
Binnington became the 24th different rookie goalie in NHL history to win a Game 7. He's the second to do so with the Blues, joining Jacques Caron, who defeated the North Stars 2-1 in overtime in the 1972 Quarterfinals.
Thomas (19 years, 309 days) assisted on each St. Louis goal. He had the primary assist on Maroon's game-winner, becoming the second teenager in NHL history to factor on a series-clinching overtime goal. The only other teen to do it was 17-year-old Bep Guidolin in Game 5 of the 1943 Semifinals with the Boston Bruins. Thomas is also the third teenager in NHL history to have multiple points in a Game 7, joining Dan Quinn of the Calgary Flames (two assists) in the 1984 Smythe Division Final and Trevor Linden of the Vancouver Canucks (one goal, one assist) in the 1989 Smythe Division Semifinals.
Video: Maroon's double-overtime goal wins Game 7 for Blues
Game 7 trends
The team that scores first is 130-46 (.739) in 176 Game 7s, including 2-2 in the 2019 playoffs. Home teams are 103-73 (.585) and 3-1 this season.
Exactly 25 percent of Game 7s (44 of 176) have required overtime. Home teams are 23-21, (2-1 this season) and 89 have been decided by one goal (50.6 percent), including three of four in 2019.
Avalanche-Sharks Game 7 caps second round
Colorado and San Jose have alternated victories to get to Game 7 of the second round.
It's the second straight Game 7 for the Sharks this season after defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 5-4 in overtime to win the first round. This is the second time since entering the NHL in 1991 that the Sharks have played multiple Game 7s in one playoff year; they also played back-to-back Game 7s in 1994.
The Avalanche will play a Game 7 for the first time since losing to the Minnesota Wild 5-4 in overtime in the 2014 first round.
Colorado and San Jose will require Game 7 for the second time in five playoff series. Colorado won 1-0 in Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference Semifinals on a goal by Peter Forsberg.
The Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques are 6-7 in their 13 previous Game 7s, including 2-4 as the visiting team. The Sharks are 7-4 in their 11 Game 7s (4-1 at home).