Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson is no Bobby Orr and yet he will share a link to the Boston Bruins Hall of Famer that St. Louis Blues fans will never forget.
"(Same) Number (4) and a winning overtime goal in this building," said former Blues player Bob Plager.
Gunnarsson, not known for his offense, scored his first playoff goal at 3:51 of overtime to give the Blues a 3-2 triumph, the first Stanley Cup Final win in the franchise's 52-year history.
The Blues were 0-13 in the Final before Wednesday. The last Final overtime between the teams was in 1970, when Orr scored, a goal made famous by the photo of him flying across the crease like Superman, to complete a sweep.
"There are still fans from the first year who still go to games," said Plager, who played on the 1969-70 Blues. "They always say, 'Before I Die.' I hope we can do something for them."
Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, right, celebrates with defenseman Alex Pietrangelo after scoring in overtime against the Bruins. (Photo: Winslow Townson, USA TODAY Sports)
The best-of-seven Final is now tied 1-1 heading to St. Louis for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday.
In Game 1, the Bruins took over the game in the second period. In Game 2, the Blues were the better team throughout the contest. They outshot the Bruins 37-20 and outhit them 50-31.
“(The Blues) came harder than last game,” Bruins center Charlie Coyle said. “They had pace, they hit and they were all over the puck.”
St. Louis coach Craig Berube expected the Blues to play better in Game 2.
“They play for each other and they care,” Berube said. “Going into Game 2, I knew we’d be a hard team to play against.”
The Bruins played most of the game without defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who was injured on a hit by Oskar Sundqvist in the first period. He went to the hospital for evaluation.
“I don’t think that’s a hit we want in our game,” Boston forward David Backes said. “I think it’s from behind, elevated in to his head into the glass.”
In Game 2, the Blues proved they can match the Bruins’ ability to get goals from everyone in their lineup. Gunnarsson also had an assist in the game. He didn’t have a point in these playoffs before Wednesday. Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo scored for the Blues, and he’s not known for scoring either.
“Anybody can step up, for sure,” Berube said. “We use everybody.”
It's a GLORIA kind of night in St. Louis thanks to Carl Gunnarsson's overtime winner!
It's the goal that give the @stlouisblues their first #StanleyCup Final win in franchise history. pic.twitter.com/sALQKOuc36
Gunnarsson hit the post late in the third period and called his overtime shot in a bathroom conversation with Berube just before overtime.
“He just said he needed one more shot,” Berube said. “He was joking around a little bit. He made a great shot.”
Gunnarsson confirmed Berube’s version of the conversation.
“It makes it even more fun,” Gunnarsson said. "It’s a good story.”
He said it was the biggest goal of his career.
”No doubt,” Gunnarsson said. “I don’t score too many, but nothing comes even close so it’s a pretty good feeling right now.”
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