The Boston Bruins seemed inspired by having hulking defenseman and team captain Zdeno Chara in the lineup Thursday for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final at TD Garden.
It didn’t translate to a win, however.
The St. Louis Blues rode a 38-save performance by rookie Jordan Binnington, built a two-goal lead and held on for a 2-1 win.
The Blues lead the series 3-2 and can clinch their first Cup at home Sunday in Game 6.
It wasn’t assured that Chara, sporting a large contraption attached to his helmet to protect the broken jaw he got in Game 4, would be in the lineup until just before game time.
Just to be sure, the Bruins dressed seven defensemen for the first time this series, and these playoffs.
Ryan O’Reilly scored his third goal in two games and added an assist, and David Perron scored for St. Louis.
Jake DeBrusk scored for Boston in the third period.
Tuukka Rask made 19 saves for the Bruins.
Whether it was because Chara was in the lineup or the Bruins were back home or some other combination of things, the Bruins came out strong and dominated the first period, including a 17-8 edge in shots. But thanks in large part to Binnington there was no scoring.
St. Louis struck 55 seconds into the second period for a 1-0 lead.
Zach Sanford picked up an assist for the third straight game for his slick setup of O’Reilly’s goal.
From behind the net, Sanford sent a pass backward, between his legs and past Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy out to O’Reilly, who moved left to right across the lower slot, moved the puck from forehand to backhand and roofed a shot past Rask.
In the waning seconds of the second, Alex Pietrangelo had a great chance to give the Blues a 2-0 lead when he got off a shot from the bottom of the right circle with Rask sprawled above the crease, but David Krejci swooped in and made an arm save.
In the third, St. Louis took a 2-0 lead at 10:36 on a shot by Perron that went off defenseman Torey Krug and off Rask’s right pad.
Fans, irate, threw debris on the ice over what they apparently thought was a trip of Boston’s Noel Acciari by the Blues’ Tyler Bozak with no call just before the goal.
The Bruins broke through to make it 2-1 at 13:32 of the third. On a delayed penalty call, DeBrusk beat Binnington on a one-timer from Krug at the right dot.