BOSTON — It’s a meeting between head coach and player that will go down in Stanley Cup Final lore, especially if the St. Louis Blues go on to win the series.
Nature was calling for Carl Gunnarsson and Craig Berube during the intermission before overtime of Game 2. The pair happened to need the bathroom at the same time, and while they took care of business, there was some brief, but impactful small talk.
Plain and simple, Gunnarsson told his head coach, “All I need is just one more chance.” Berube liked what he had heard.
Minutes earlier, the Blues defenseman nearly won Game 2, but his slap shot clanked off the post behind Tuukka Rask, whose body language showed he thought it was game over.
“I know I got it past him and I saw it sitting in the crease there, too,” Gunnarsson said after the Blues’ 3-2 overtime win to even the series. “I was hoping for someone to poke it in. Didn’t happen, but obviously very lucky to get it in the OT.”
He didn’t need to wait long to get his sought-after chance following the hit crossbar. Just 3:51 into the extra period, and as a delayed penalty was called on the Bruins, Gunnarsson fired home his first career playoff goal.
“He had his chances throughout the game,” said defenseman Joel Edmundson. “It’s a shot that all of us defensemen, we practice every pregame skate, so it was nice to see that go in and it couldn’t happen to a better guy.”
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Gunnarsson’s goal, which he described as the biggest of his life, capped off a turnaround performance for the Blues after they let Game 1 slip away following a strong opening 21 minutes. In Game 2 they controlled the pace in a 63-plus minute night as they dominated in shots (37-23) and again neutralized the Bruins’ top line. (They do need to work on the discipline, however, after giving the Bruins another five power play opportunities.)
“We weren’t happy with Game 1, I think we lost our game a little bit,” said forward Oskar Sundqvist. “We went into this game talking about playing our game. I think we did a pretty good job.”
The win was an historic one for the Blues. Entering Game 2, the franchise was 0-13 in Stanley Cup Finals games. That winless streak is now over, and they head home for Saturday’s Game 3 not facing an 0-2 mountain to climb.
“I guess that’s a little bonus,” Gunnarsson said of ending the Cup Final losing streak. “That’s pretty cool if you think about it that way. Pretty sure we’re not going to stop here.”
Blues-Bruins Game 3 is Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET from Enterprise Center on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app.
MORE BLUES-BRUINS GAME 2:
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• Top line struggles, Grzelcyk injury stifle Bruins in Game 2
• Blues, Bruins built without luxury of top pick
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.