The St. Louis Blues are one win away from becoming the first team in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to go from last in the overall standings at any point after its 30th game to Stanley Cup champions after defeating the Boston Bruins 2-1 in Game 5 of the Cup Final at TD Garden on Thursday.
The Blues, who were last in the NHL entering games of Jan. 3, can win their first championship since entering the League in 1967 by defeating the Bruins at Enterprise Center on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).
St. Louis moved within one victory of the Cup by winning for the ninth time in 12 road games during this postseason, outscoring its opponents 38-29. Fives team in NHL history have earned more road wins in a single playoff year: the 1995 New Jersey Devils (10-1), 2012 Los Angeles Kings (10-1), 2000 Devils (10-2), 2018 Washington Capitals (10 3) and 2004 Calgary Flames (10-4). All but the 2004 Flames won the Cup.
The Blues lead 3-2 in a best-of-7 series for the 14th time in their history and third time this year. St. Louis is 11-2 (.846) in the previous 13 instances; the losses came in the 1996 Western Conference Conference Semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings and the 2003 Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Vancouver Canucks.
Teams with a 3-2 advantage in a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series have a 315-87 series record (.784), including 32-8 (.800) in the Stanley Cup Final and 5-4 mark in 2019. St. Louis and Boston are responsible for two of those comeback victories this postseason, with the Blues rallying to defeat the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Second Round and the Bruins doing so in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
St. Louis is 7-1 in Games 5-7 of series this postseason, outscoring opponents 25-10 and allowing no more than two goals in any game. The Blues had been 42-54 all-time in Games 5-7 of best-of-7 series entering the 2019 playoffs.
Video: The crew reacts to the Blues crucial Game 5 victory
Binnington continues goaltending heroics for Blues
Rookie goalie Jordan Binnington made 38 saves for the Blues in Game 5 to get his 15th win in the 2019 playoffs and tie the record for most victories in one playoff year by a rookie goalie. Three of the previous four won the Stanley Cup.
The win at Boston was Binnington's ninth on the road, passing Ron Hextall of the 1987 Philadelphia Flyers (8-5) for the most road victories by a rookie goalie in one playoff year. Binnington can match the overall record for road wins by a goalie if the series goes to a Game 7; that mark is held by Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals, who achieved it last season.
Binnington's 38 saves were two shy of the most by a rookie goalie in a Stanley Cup Final game that ended in regulation. Hextall (Game 7 in 1987) and Rogie Vachon of the Montreal Canadiens (Game 2 in 1967) share the record with 40; Binnington and Glenn Hall of the Detroit Red Wings (Game 1 in 1956) each made 38.
Video: Binnington stops 38 shots in the Blues Game 5 victory
O'Reilly paces offense for Blues
Center Ryan O'Reilly gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead by scoring 55 seconds into the second period, then assisted on the game-winner by forward David Perron at 10:36 of the third.
O'Reilly, who scored two goals in Game 4, has scored in consecutive games for the first time since March 6-7 and has at least one point in each of his past four games (six points; three goals, three assists). The only player in Blues history with more career points in the Stanley Cup Final is Frank St. Marseille, who had seven (four goals, three assists) in 12 games during three Final appearances with St. Louis from 1968-70.
O'Reilly has 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 24 games this postseason and is the fifth player in St. Louis history with at least 20 points in one playoff year. The Blues record is 21 points, last achieved by Brett Hull in 1990 (21 points; 13 goals, eight assists in 12 games).
Perron's goal was his second game-winner in these playoffs. He has scored seven goals in 24 playoff games for the Blues after having four in his first 57 playoff games.
The 2-1 St. Louis victory marked the fourth time in five games during the Cup Final that the game was decided by one goal, or two following an empty-net goal. The Cup Final has been tied or within one goal for 83.6 percent of total playing time (254:01 of 303:51).
The Blues are the first team in the series to win consecutive games; they will try for their third three-game winning streak of the playoffs (also April 18-25 and May 17-21). The Bruins have not lost three straight games (regular season or playoffs) since March 10-14, when they lost three in a row, each in regulation.
St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo had his 14th assist (in 24 games played) to extend his Blues record for most in a postseason by a defenseman. The only player in St. Louis history with more assists in one playoff year is Hall of Fame center Bernie Federko, who had 15 (in 10 games) in 1982.