The scenario is rather simple.
If Jordan Binnington can find one win in the next two games, he’ll give the St. Louis Blues their first Stanley Cup in their 51st season in the NHL and, by virtue, will become the only rookie goaltender to ever win 16 games in as single postseason, eclipsing names like Patrick Roy, Ron Hextall Cam Ward and Matt Murray — names Binnington sits level with right now.
“Nothing really surprises us now,” Jay Bouwmeester said Friday. “He’s been with us for a long time. He’s a big part of our team, and any team at this point, the goaltending is huge in the playoffs.”
Of the four that came before Binnington, three — Roy, Ward and Murray — won the Cup on their first try. Binnington is sitting on 15 wins, a 2.46 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage and can become the fourth as early as Game 6 vs. Boston on Sunday (8 p.m. ET on NBC).
How does that compare to the three other folks?
Goals-against average: 1.93
Save percentage: .923
It’s hard to believe that Roy was just 20 when he won the Conn Smythe in 1986. The Canadiens weren’t supposed to win the Cup. Roy wasn’t supposed to lead them there. Instead, we watched the origins of one of the greatest goalies of all time.
Goals-against average: 2.14
Save percentage: .920
Ward replaced Martin Gerber after the latter dropped the first two games against the Montreal Canadiens in Round 1 in 2006. The Hurricanes were a differnet team after that and Ward became the first rookie goalie since Roy to hoist the Cup. Like Binnington, Ward wasn’t the starter at the beginning on the season.
Goals-against average: 2.08
Save percentage: .923
Murray usurped Jeff Zatkoff in Round 1 against the New York Rangers in 2016 and would only see the bench once the rest of the way as the Penguins rode Murray to their first of two straight Stanley Cups.
Binnington’s story will be just as interesting as the other three that came before him, if not more so.
The savior, Binnington entered the Blues crease on Jan. 7 with the Blues stuck in the basement of the NHL. His first start would be a 25-save shutout, and the beginning of one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NHL history.
To really cement that, Binnington needs just one win in the next two games to write the last chapter in what’s been anything but a fictional novel for himself and his team.
MORE BLUES – BRUINS COVERAGE
- Bruins, Blues in familiar places heading into Game 6
- Both teams have seen officiating controversies even before Game 5.
- Bruins must move on from setback.
- Ivan Barbashev suspended for hit on Marcus Johansson.
- Blues hope to keep emotions in check.
- Cassidy rips officiating.
- Missed opportunities haunt Bruins.