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Stanley Cup Final

Binnington enjoys notice with Blues, but focused on Game 6 of Cup Final

Rookie celebrity can help St. Louis win first NHL championship by defeating Bruins

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Jordan Binnington is starting to embrace this whole celebrity thing.

The St. Louis Blues goalie was grabbing a bite at Brio Tuscan Grille when the manager recognized him Friday. The next thing he knew, his dinner was on the house.

"They were good to me," Binnington said. "I'm grateful for stuff like that. That's the cool part about what's going on."


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If Binnington can help the Blues win the Stanley Cup for the first time, he might never need to buy another meal in St. Louis.

The Blues, who entered the NHL in 1967-68, can earn the championship by defeating the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final at home on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Video: Binnington's historic performance continues in Final

Binnington also can set the record for most wins by a rookie goalie in a single NHL postseason (16). But for the 25-year-old, who made his first NHL start on Jan. 7, it's business as usual until the job is complete. That means tuning out all distractions.

"Same way, right? Turn down the noise, see what the score is at the end of the game," Binnington said. "You can look back at things in a couple of weeks. 

"I think the majority of people know to leave [me] alone right now. You know people are rooting for you. It's a busy time of year. People are reaching out. At the same time, you have a job to do and you have to stay composed and focused on the next game.

"You understand what's going on. It's really cool. I'm enjoying it. I'm just trying to do my best. The city's excited. You're getting free meals. It's great. I'm enjoying it. But there still is a job to do."

The fact the Ontario native does not have a permanent residence in St. Louis is an indicator of how fast his rise to prominence has been.

"My sense [of city pride] is getting there," he said. "I'm still living in a temporary spot, so there's no home here yet. But I'm happy here. I'm enjoying it."

He's also enjoyed playing with the media the way a cat toys with a mouse.

With each series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Binnington has been asked more questions about his rags-to-riches story: climbing from fourth on the Blues preseason depth chart through San Antonio of the American Hockey League into the NHL.

Dubbed an overnight sensation, despite being selected No. 87 in the 2011 NHL Draft, people want to know how he did it. For weeks he's said it's been about self-belief.

"It's the same answer pretty much for every question," he said.

Asked why he doesn't offer more colorful stories about his past, he flashed a wry grin.

"I like the mystery of it," he said. "Keep people wondering. I'm having a good time. That's it."

He was asked if there is anything reporters should ask him that he wanted to talk about.

"That's not my job," he said, drawing laughter from the reporters around him. "It just [stinks] that I have to give you the same answers.

"[My story] is cool for you guys. It gives you guys something to talk about. But I'll appreciate it later. Right now, stay composed, do my thing."

Video: Binnington hopes to finish storybook rookie season

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