BOSTON — St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson struck up a dialog with coach Craig Berube within the staff’s restroom earlier than Recreation 2’s extra time in opposition to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday evening.
This could turn out to be the postseason’s impossible setting for one in all its grandest predictions.
As Blues ahead Oskar Sundqvist relayed afterward, Berube informed the staff that he was utilizing the toilet after the third interval when Gunnarsson walked up and stood subsequent to him.
“And all Gunnarsson mentioned to him was, ‘I simply want yet one more probability,'” Sundqvist mentioned. “It was true, apparently. It labored out.”
After ringing the puck off the put up late within the third interval, Gunnarsson scored the successful purpose in Recreation 2 at Three minutes, 51 seconds of extra time, draining a shot previous Tuukka Rask from the blue line on a delayed penalty in opposition to Boston.
The Blues’ Three-2 victory knotted the Stanley Cup Remaining at a sport apiece. Recreation Three is about for Saturday in St. Louis.
After hitting the put up late within the third interval, Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson scored the successful purpose Three minutes, 51 seconds into extra time. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports activities
It was Gunnarsson’s first profession playoff purpose in his 57th profession postseason sport — and simply the third time in NHL historical past participant’s maiden playoff tally got here in extra time of a Stanley Cup Remaining sport.
“I do not rating too many, however nothing comes even near this,” Gunnarsson mentioned. “So it is a fairly good feeling proper now.”
Gunnarsson had each motive to make his powder room proclamation, as a result of he had overwhelmed Rask twice earlier than at TD Backyard this season. On Jan. 17, he blasted a shot from the slot previous Rask in a Blues win, one in all simply three objectives he scored in an injury-riddled season. On Wednesday evening in Recreation 2, with 1:57 left within the third interval of a 2-2 sport, Gunnarsson beat Rask with a shot, nevertheless it hit the iron and trickled away.
“[I shot it] as laborious as I might, yeah,” Gunnarsson mentioned of his third-period shot. “I knew I had it previous him, however then I noticed it sitting within the crease. I hoped somebody would poke it in, however that did not occur.
“However fortunately I used to be in a position to rating within the OT.”
Blues defenseman Colton Parayko mentioned Gunnarsson made that “yet one more probability” depend.
“That was a fully howitzer,” Parayko mentioned of the winner. “He is an unbelievable defender. I have been right here for 4 years, and he does all of it. He is been excellent.”
Regardless of his success in Boston, Gunnarsson is not precisely recognized for his offensive acumen.
“I appreciated listening to it,” Berube mentioned of Gunnarsson’s speak earlier than extra time. “He hit the put up within the third there and he felt good about himself, clearly, which he ought to have. He had a hell of a sport, I believed, and I am actually joyful for him that he ended up getting that sport winner.”
It was the sort of second the Blues looked for of their Recreation 1 loss to the Bruins, needing somebody to make a play as they trailed by a purpose deep into the third interval. In Recreation 2, they have been a distinct staff in quite a lot of methods — controlling the sport with their forechecking, preserving the Bruins’ offense in test and getting high-danger scoring alternatives in opposition to Rask deep into the sport.
However they wanted a play in extra time, and Gunnarsson offered it.
“First sport we weren’t joyful; at the moment, we got here out flying, and I believe we performed an excellent sport for 60-plus minutes,” Gunnarsson mentioned. “That is simply the staff we’re. We come again like that. We by no means surrender. For me to place it in there and get the winner, it is an excellent feeling.”
The purpose gave the Blues their first Stanley Cup Remaining victory in franchise historical past, sending the sequence again to St. Louis, the place a sold-out watch occasion was flush with anticipation for Saturday’s Recreation Three.
Gunnarsson’s rest room proclamation turns into the most recent entry in Stanley Cup playoffs lore.
“You do not hear that story fairly often. That is not a spot to have a dialog,” Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo mentioned. “However I suppose it really works.”