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Stanley Cup Final

O'Reilly comes through for Blues in Game 4 of Stanley Cup Final

Scores two goals, including winner in third period against Bruins to even series

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Ryan O'Reilly phones his father, Brian, whenever he's struggling or feeling down.

Monday morning was one of those times.

The Blues, preparing to play later in the day, were coming off a loss in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins on Saturday that left them trailing in the best-of-7 series. Another defeat would require St. Louis to reel off three consecutive victories to win the Cup for the first time.


[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage]


Dad's advice? Relax. Keep it simple.

It worked to perfection.

O'Reilly, who entered with three goals in his previous 21 Stanley Cup Playoff games, scored in the opening minute and then broke a tie with 9:22 remaining in a 4-2 victory at Enterprise Center that tied the series. Game 5 is at Boston on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"Obviously, I have a pretty good dialogue with my dad," the Blues center said. "I was just trying to get back to that mindset of leave it all out there, stop overthinking the game and just kind of trust yourself more."

Video: BOS@STL, Gm4: O'Reilly pots early wraparound goal

With his father's words fresh in his mind, O'Reilly scored 43 seconds into the game, providing a much-needed start for the Blues and their home crowd after a 7-2 loss two nights earlier. He incited another eruption with the game tied 2-2 at 10:38 of the third.

Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo noticed the Bruins were in the midst of a late line change and blasted a slap shot that Boston goalie Tuukka Rask couldn't smother. O'Reilly charged the net, collected the rebound and scored what would be the decisive goal to seal the Blues' first-ever Cup Final win at home.

It was the culmination of a night Blues coach Craig Berube said was special for O'Reilly.

"Day in day out, there's not a guy who works harder than him," Berube said. "He's always out there, even if practice is optional.

"I thought he had a [heck of a] game tonight. Not just the goals, but his approach to the game. I thought he was moving very well, strong on the puck, did some real good things in all facets, power play, penalty killing, everything."

Including scoring with a stick center Jack Hughes earlier Monday referred to as "weird."

Video: BOS@STL, Gm4: O'Reilly beats Rask for second tally

Hughes, projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver on June 21-22, was checking out the stick rack in the Blues locker room in the morning when he came upon O'Reilly's. Hughes could only shake his head at its shape, which he compared to the letter L.

"I have no idea how he can use that thing," Hughes told the handful of fellow prospects who were also in town attending the game.

He does now.

"I couldn't use that thing, it's so stiff," Blues defenseman Vince Dunn said. "But I'm so glad he can."

O'Reilly understandably was selected the game's First Star. The second was Pietrangelo, who played 29:37, had two assists and was a physical presence throughout.

"I've said it before, things don't really seem to faze us," Pietrangelo said. "Obviously, [Game 3] got out of hand and we weren't too proud of that. I felt like last game we actually did start pretty well; the first five, 10 minutes, we just do the same thing.

"We use everybody and put teams on their heels. We get a lot of momentum opportunities from that."

Video: BOS@STL, Gm4: O'Reilly on game-winner to even series

Clearly, the message from Mr. O'Reilly tricked down to his son's teammates.

"From start to finish, guys just kept playing," O'Reilly said. "When they made a push, we responded well. We kept going one shift at a time.

"When I talked to my dad, that was kind of for me personally and the game we were trying to play. As a group we brought that, and it worked tonight."


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