ST. LOUIS — Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask delivered for the Bruins once again.
As a result, the Stanley Cup Finals are heading to Game 7.
Rask made 28 saves, Marchand had a goal and an assist, and Boston beat the Blues 5-1 on Sunday night to even the bruising, physical Finals at three games apiece.
David Pastrnak had one of Boston’s four goals in the third period and an assist, helping the Bruins force the 17th Game 7 in Stanley Cup Finals history. Brandon Carlo, Karson Kuhlman and Zdeno Chara also scored.
Boston also was involved in the most recent Game 7 in the Finals, winning the championship against Vancouver in 2011. Rask was a reserve goaltender on that team eight years ago. Marchand was a key performer. They will go for another championship Wednesday in Boston.
“The whole hockey world loves a Game 7,” Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “May the best team win.”
“Listen, if you told me four months ago we were going to be in the Finals in Game 7, I think I’d take it,” St. Louis head coach Craig Berube said. “We’ve been a good road team. We’ve won twice up there in this series, so we’re a confident group.”
Photo: Jeff Roberson / Associated Press
Ryan O’Reilly scored in the third period for St. Louis, which is looking for the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title. Rookie Jordan Binnington finished with 27 stops.
Backed by an electric Enterprise Center crowd, St. Louis looked a step off for most of the game. Prime scoring opportunities were derailed by misplaced passes or ever-so-slight timing issues.
Of course, Rask can have that effect on a team. And whenever the Blues threatened, the 6-foot-3 Finnish goalie was there.
“He’s our best player,” Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy said. “He just steps up when it matters and we have all the faith in the world in him. … He’s our rock.”
Rask was at his best while Boston killed off four power plays, dropping St. Louis to 1-for-18 with the man advantage for the series. He smothered a big Colton Parayko slap shot with Chara in the box near the end of the first period, and made a glove stop on an even-strength try for Brayden Schenn 7:42 into the second.
Rask got some help after Marchand was whistled for tripping Alex Pietrangelo midway through the second. With the Blues applying pressure in search of the tying goal, Pietrangelo’s backhand went off the left post and Rask’s back before McAvoy knocked the airborne puck away.
Jay Cohen is an Associated Press writer.