(Reuters) – A goal by Carl Gunnarsson gave the St. Louis Blues a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday to level the best-of-seven series at 1-1.
Ryan O’Reilly delivered a pass right into Gunnarsson’s wheelhouse early into overtime in Boston and the Swede sent a blistering shot past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask to end the physical and tense game.
“We never give up,” said Gunnarsson after recording his first career playoff goal in 56 outings. “Tonight we played a full 60 and kept going in the extra time.
“It was a good game overall.”
Boston native Charlie Coyle drew first blood with a powerplay goal 4:44 into the first period before the Blues Robert Bortuzzo’s shot from a tough outside angle ricocheted off a defender to tie the game at 1-1.
The tie was short lived as Bruins left wing Joakim Nordstrom answered less than a minute later with a backhanded score on a deft pass from Sean Kuraly that put the Bruins back on top.
Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko tied it up again at 2-2 with a sensational fast break goal where he rebounded his own shot to send it into the top of the net.
A scary moment came with just over two minutes remaining in the first period when Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk took a brutal hit from behind from St. Louis Blues center Oskar Sundqvist that smashed his head into the boards.
It took several minutes before Grzelcyk could get up, during which a scuffle broke out between the two teams.
Grzelcyk did not return and Boston failed to covert on the subsequent two minute power play.
After the action packed first period, both teams ratcheted up their defense in the scoreless second and third periods before Gunnarsson’s overtime goal gave the Blues the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Finals victory (1-13).
The series shifts to St. Louis for Game Three on Saturday.
“(The fans) have been ramping up every series so I think the place will be buzzing on Saturday,” Gunnarsson said.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)