ST. LOUIS WINS FIRST STANLEY CUP IN UNPRECEDENTED FASHION
Ryan O’Reilly registered 1-1—2 and Jordan Binnington stopped 32 of 33 shots he faced to help the Blues defeat the Bruins in Game 7 and win their first Stanley Cup in the franchise’s 52-year history, capping an unprecedented season in which they became the first team in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) to win a championship after ranking last in the overall League standings at any point after their 30th game.
* The Blues ended the longest wait in NHL history – 51 seasons – for a team to win its first championship; they eclipsed the Kings, who held the distinction after winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in 2011-12, their 44th season.
* St. Louis also surpassed Los Angeles for the most regular-season games (4,046) and total games (4,437) contested by a franchise before capturing its first Stanley Cup. The Kings won in 2012 after playing 3,506 regular-season games and 3,708 games overall.
* Additionally, the Blues now own the most postseason appearances (42), series (72) and games (391) before winning the Stanley Cup for the first time. The Capitals – who captured the championship in 2018 after 28 playoff appearances, 47 series and 275 games – held that distinction until Wednesday.
* The Blues improved to 10-8 in Game 7s, including a 5-6 record on the road. Only two teams in NHL history have more Game 7 wins as visitors: the Penguins (6-0) and Canadiens (6-6).
* The Blues’ milestone victory came in the city where they played their last Stanley Cup Final game prior to this year. Boston’s Bobby Orr scored his famous Stanley Cup-clinching overtime goal on home ice against St. Louis in Game 4 of the 1970 Final.
* St. Louis became the fourth straight team, fifth in the past seven years and ninth in the last 12 years to clinch the Stanley Cup on the road. Overall, the Stanley Cup has been won on the road 43 out of the 100 times it has been awarded since the founding of the NHL in 1917.
* The Blues also became the third straight road team to win Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final, following the 2011 Bruins (at VAN) and 2009 Penguins (at DET). Road teams now are 5-12 in Game 7s contested in the Stanley Cup Final.
* The Blues (No. 12 in NHL) became the second team to win the Stanley Cup after finishing the regular season ranked 12th or lower in the overall League standings, joining the 2012 Kings (No. 13 in NHL).
* The Blues became the fourth team in the modern era (since 1943-44) – and first in 30 years – to win the Stanley Cup without a previous winner on their roster, joining the 1974 Flyers, 1980 Islanders and 1989 Flames.
* The Blues’ win marks the fourth championship for fans of St. Louis pro sports teams since the turn of the millennium. MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series in 2006 and 2011 and the NFL’s St. Louis Rams captured the Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2000.
BLUES MAKE HISTORY WITH CLIMB FROM WORST TO FIRST
The Blues’ Stanley Cup-clinching win capped a roller-coaster season for the team and its fans unlike any in the four major North American pro sports leagues (NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL) since the team joined the NHL in 1967-68, the start of the League’s expansion era.
* The Blues, who ranked last in the NHL standings through games of Jan. 2 (15-18-4, 34 points), became the first team in the expansion era to sit last in the overall standings at any point after its 30th game and rebound to win the Stanley Cup.
* St. Louis also became the first team from any of the four major North American sports leagues to win a title after occupying last place overall in the league standings after one-quarter or more of the season’s games (since 1967-68). In fact, the Blues are the only team in that span to even qualify for the league’s championship series/game.
* Listed below is a synopsis of key moments along the way:
Oct. 4, 2018 – The Blues open the regular season with a 5-1 loss to the Jets at Enterprise Center. Fifteen of the 20 players who dressed for opening night also were in uniform for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. The five others: Jordan Binnington, Joel Edmundson, Carl Gunnarsson, Zach Sanford and Oskar Sundqvist.
Nov. 19, 2018 – Craig Berube is named interim head coach for the remainder of the 2018-19 season, replacing head coach Mike Yeo after the team opened with a 7-9-3 record (17 points) through its first 19 games.
Nov. 26, 2018 – General manager Doug Armstrong is interviewed on a St. Louis radio station, saying “I do believe in this group. I believe in a lot of these players. I really hope as a group we can get this all back on track.”
Dec. 9, 2018 – Vladimir Tarasenko apologizes to fans following a 6-1 home loss to the Canucks, stating “I apologize to all our fans. We can’t play at home like this. I don’t know how to fix it. We work on it but it doesn’t work for now.”
Jan. 2, 2019 – The Blues drop to last place in the NHL standings with a 15-18-4 record (34 points).
Jan. 7, 2019 – Binnington makes his first NHL start, recording a 3-0 shutout win over the Flyers.
Jan. 17, 2019 – David Perron collects an assist to extend his point streak to 13 games (6-10—16).
Jan. 19, 2019 – Binnington improves to 4-0-1 through his first five career NHL starts, with a 1.19 goals-against average, .954 save percentage and one shutout.
Jan. 31, 2019 – The Blues conclude January with a 7-4-1 record (15 points), their first winning record during a calendar month in 2018-19.
Feb. 5, 2019 – St. Louis begins playing Laura Branigan’s 1982 cover version of “Gloria” as a postgame victory song, following a 3-2 triumph over the Panthers – a third straight win.
Feb. 17, 2019 – Tarasenko extends his point streak to 12 games with a 1-2—3 outing (4-0 at MIN).
Feb. 19, 2019 – The Blues extend their winning streak to a franchise-record 11 games following a 3-2 overtime victory against the Maple Leafs. Binnington stretches his personal winning streak to nine games, the longest in franchise history by a rookie goaltender.
March 29, 2019 – St. Louis clinches a berth in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
April 4, 2019 – Binnington earns his 23rd win of 2018-19 to establish a franchise record by a rookie goaltender in one season.
April 6, 2019 – The Blues conclude the regular season with a League-leading 30-10-5 record (65 points) since occupying last place on Jan. 2 to clinch third place in the Central Division standings.
April 17, 2019 – Ryan O’Reilly is named a finalist for the 2018-19 Frank J. Selke Trophy.
April 18, 2019 – O’Reilly is named a finalist for the 2018-19 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
April 26, 2019 – Berube is named a finalist for the 2018-19 Jack Adams Award.
April 27, 2019 – Binnington is named a finalist for the 2018-19 Calder Memorial Trophy.
May 16, 2019 – Armstrong is named a finalist for the 2018-19 NHL General Manager of the Year Award.
* Over the course of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Blues eliminate the Jets in the First Round despite dropping their first two games at Enterprise Center; earn a double-overtime win in Game 7 to overcome a 2-3 series deficit and vanquish the Stars; rally to defeat the Sharks in the Western Conference Final after losing Games 1 and 3; and top the Bruins in Wednesday’s winner-take-all showdown to capture the Stanley Cup.
OFFSEASON ACQUISITION O’REILLY WINS CONN SMYTHE TROPHY
Ryan O’Reilly – who topped all players in the Stanley Cup Final with five goals and nine points (7 GP) and also shared the overall playoff scoring lead with 8-15—23 (26 GP) – won the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to “the most valuable player to his team in the playoffs.” The winner was selected in a vote by a panel of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
* O’Reilly – who was acquired in a July 1 trade – became the first skater in NHL history to win the Conn Smythe Trophy in his first season with a new team. He also became the third player (regardless of position) to capture the Conn Smythe Trophy in his first season with a new team, joining goaltenders Glenn Hall in 1968 (w/ STL) and Bernie Parent in 1974 (w/ PHI).
* O’Reilly set a franchise record for points in a playoff year and collected the second-most assists by a Blues player in one postseason. He also established a team record for career goals and points in the Stanley Cup Final, eclipsing Frank St. Marseille’s 4-3—7 across three Final appearances from 1968-70 (12 GP).
* O’Reilly became the first player on any team to record nine or more points in a single Stanley Cup Final since 2010, when Philadelphia’s Daniel Briere (3-9—12 in 6 GP), Scott Hartnell (5-4—9 in 6 GP) and Ville Leino (3-6—9 in 6 GP) all did so.
* O’Reilly concluded the postseason on a four-game goal streak (5-2—7), the longest by anyone in the Stanley Cup Final since Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky had an equal run in 1985 (7-4—11).
* O’Reilly also finished the playoffs on a six-game point streak (5-4—9), the longest by anyone in the Stanley Cup Final since the Rangers’ Mark Messier in 1994 (2-5—7 in 7 GP).
* O’Reilly opened the scoring three times during the Stanley Cup Final (Games 4, 5 and 7) and scored the Blues’ first goal in each of their last four contests.
* O’Reilly now can become the first player in NHL history to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, Frank J. Selke Trophy and Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in the same season. Only one player has won both the Conn Smythe Trophy and Frank J. Selke Trophy in the same season: Bob Gainey in 1978-79 (w/ MTL). One player also has won both the Conn Smythe Trophy and Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in the same season: Brad Richards in 2003-04 (w/ TBL).
ROOKIE BINNINGTON ETCHES NAME IN RECORD BOOK
Jordan Binnington became the first rookie in NHL history to earn each of his team’s 16 wins en route to capturing a Stanley Cup, finishing the postseason with a 2.46 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and one shutout in 26 appearances.
* Ten of Binnigton’s victories came on the road (10-3, 2.17 GAA, .925 SV%, 1 SO), tying the record by any goaltender in a single postseason. He equaled Martin Brodeur (10-1 in 1995, 10-2 in 2000, both w/ NJD), Jonathan Quick (10-1 in 2012 w/ LAK), Braden Holtby (10-3 in 2018 w/ WSH) and Miikka Kiprusoff (10-4 in 2004 w/ CGY).
* Binnington made a habit of bouncing back from defeat, finishing the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs with eight of his wins occurring following a loss (8-2, 1.78 GAA, .937 SV%) – tied for the single-postseason NHL record with Nikolai Khabibulin (8-0 in 2004 w/ TBL), Ron Hextall (8-2 in 1987 w/ PHI) and Kiprusoff (8-3 in 2004 w/ CGY).
* Binnington also joined Toronto’s Frank McCool (1945 at DET), Montreal’s Ken Dryden (1971 at CHI) and Carolina’s Cam Ward (2006 vs. EDM) as the fourth rookie goaltender to win Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
* A third-round pick (87th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft who did not make his first NHL start until Jan. 7 of this year, Binnington – a Calder Trophy finalist – finished the regular season with a 24-5-1 record, leading the NHL in goals-against average (1.89) and ranking fourth in save percentage (.927).
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
The Blues concluded the postseason with a 10-3 record as visitors, including a 3-1 mark in the Stanley Cup Final. St. Louis matched the NHL record for road wins in a single playoff year, joining the 1995 Devils (10-1), 2012 Kings (10-1), 2000 Devils (10-2), 2018 Capitals (10‑3) and 2004 Flames (10-4).
* The Blues became the seventh team in NHL history – and first since 2000 – to win three games as a visitor during the Stanley Cup Final. They joined the 1921 Senators (at VMI), 1928 Rangers (at MMR), 1945 Maple Leafs (at DET), 1966 Canadiens (at DET), 1990 Oilers (at BOS) and 2000 Devils (at DAL), who also each won the Stanley Cup.
* St. Louis became the fifth team in NHL history to win Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on the road, following the 1945 Maple Leafs (2-1 at DET), 1971 Canadiens (3-2 at CHI), 2009 Penguins (2-1 at DET) and 2011 Bruins (4-0 at VAN).
* The Blues captured the Stanley Cup despite posting a 6-7 record at Enterprise Center this postseason (.462), the most home playoff losses by a champion in NHL history. They eclipsed the previous high of five, set by the 2000 Devils (6-5), 2002 Red Wings (8-5) and 2018 Capitals (6-5).
* The Blues also now are owners of the lowest home win percentage by a Stanley Cup champion in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) and the fourth-lowest in League history, behind the 1927 Senators (1-0-2), 1928 Rangers (1-1-1) and 1935 Maroons (1-0-2), who each had a mark of .333 after contesting only three games as hosts.
VETERAN BOUWMEESTER, HEAD COACH BERUBE JOIN RARE COMPANY
* Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (0-1—1), a veteran of 16 NHL seasons, captured his first Stanley Cup after skating in 1,184 career regular-season games and 75 playoff contests. He became the seventh player in NHL history to play in as many regular-season games before winning his first Stanley Cup, joining Ray Bourque (1,612), Dave Andreychuk (1,597), Glen Wesley (1,311), Pat Verbeek (1,225), Luc Robitaille (1,205) and Rod Brind’Amour (1,187).
* Craig Berube became the seventh head coach in NHL history – and fifth since the turn of the century – to win the Stanley Cup after taking over head coaching duties midseason, following Dick Irvin (1932), Al MacNeil (1971), Larry Robinson (2000), Dan Bylsma (2009), Darryl Sutter (2012) and Mike Sullivan (2016).
PIETRANGELO SETS FRANCHISE MARK IN CLINCHING VICTORY . . .
Captain Alex Pietrangelo posted 1-1—2, including the Stanley Cup-clinching goal, to guide the Blues to their first championship. He finished the postseason with 3-16—19, tops among NHL defensemen and the most by any St. Louis blueliner in a playoff year. He also set a single-postseason franchise record for assists by any player.