St. Louis scored just 43 seconds into the game and Ryan O’Reilly’s second goal of the game was big enough to be labeled a season-saver as it broke a tie in the third period. St. Louis beat the Boston Bruins 4-2 Monday at the Enterprise Center. That evens the Stanley Cup final at 2-2. Game 5 is Thursday in Boston.
Boston had just one shot for the final half of the third period and the series comes down to a best-of-three, with the Bruins carrying the home-ice advantage.
On the winning goal, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask stopped a shot from above the right circle by Alex Pietrangelo. The rebound came out to O’Reilly as he crashed the slot, and he banged it past Rask’s right pad at 10:38 of the third to make it 3-2.
Charlie Coyle and Brandon Carlo scored for Boston, which played most of the game without captain Zdeno Chara. The hulking veteran defenseman left early in the second period after a shot by Brayden Schenn rode up Chara’s stick and badly bloodied his mouth.
Chara returned to the bench in the third with extra jaw protection added to his helmet, but that’s where he sat. Chara did not take a shift in the third period.
“Very uncomfortable. Was advised not to return to play,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Has some dental work. Probably some stitches in the near future. He wanted to come out on the bench to be with his teammates.”
Chara’s status for Game 5 is unknown but in an ominous sign, Cassidy was already discussing a replacement. He said Steven Kampher would go if Chara cannot.
“You can’t replace a guy like Z [sic],” said Bruins center Patrice Bergeron.
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made 34 saves.
Vladimir Tarasenko and Schenn also scored for St. Louis. Jordan Binnington made 21 saves.
The teams traded goals through the first two periods to take a 2-2 tie into the third. St. Louis, which had a good deal of sustained pressure in the first period, struck quickly. O’Reilly got a rebound and scored on a wraparound 43 seconds into the first period for a 1-0 lead.
At 13:14 of the first, Coyle scored for the third straight game to tie it 1-1. He got to a rebound of a shot by Chara and directed the puck around Binnington’s left skate.
The Blues regained the lead, 2-1, at 15:30 of the first, again off a rebound. Pietrangelo stepped around Boston’s Marcus Johansson to get off a shot. Tarasenko scored on the followed shot.
The Bruins, who scored on each of their four power plays in Game 3, got a shorthanded goal in the second period. Carlo got his first career playoff goal at 14:19, once again off a rebound. After a shot by Patrice Bergeron, Carlo’s shot glanced off Binnington’s glove and in to make it 2-2.
Schenn added an empty-netter with 1:29 left in regulation.