EditorsNote: 2nd update, adds quotes
Pat Maroon scored the winner 5:50 into double overtime as the St. Louis Blues advanced to the Western Conference final with a 2-1 victory over the visiting Dallas Stars in a thrilling Game 7 on Tuesday night.
The Blues next will face the winner of Wednesday’s Game 7 clash between the Colorado Avalanche and the host San Jose Sharks.
“I don’t really know. It hasn’t really hit me,” Maroon said of his thoughts on the NBCSN broadcast. “What a ride it’s been.”
The Blues needed to overcome a monumental performance by Stars goalie Ben Bishop in the third Game 7 overtime of this year’s wild Stanley Cup playoffs.
Bishop made 52 saves in an incredible outing, but he couldn’t deny Maroon on the winner. Robert Thomas rang a shot off the post, and Maroon — who is from St. Louis — pounced on the loose puck and put it into an open net for his second game-winning goal of the playoffs.
“The biggest goal of my career. Wow. What a moment,” Maroon said. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster for me all year, and to score a big goal like that in my hometown, my son in the stands, friends, family. I’ve got to give credit to my linemates. They battled with me all year. They pretty much turned my season around.”
Bishop called the loss tough to swallow.
“The first word that comes is frustrated,” Bishop said. “We had a good opportunity and just frustrated right now. It’s tough to end your season in overtime.”
Jordan Binnington stopped 29 shots for the win.
The clubs traded first-period goals just 2:25 apart to set up the nail-biting finish.
St. Louis’ Vince Dunn opened the scoring with his first goal of the playoffs. A full minute after Binnington made a clutch save on John Klingberg, the Blues were buzzing in the offensive zone.
Seconds after captain Alex Pietrangelo pinched from his point position to keep the play in the zone, he made a pass across to Dunn at the other point, and Dunn fired a long wrist shot that beat Bishop at the 13:30 mark.
Thomas assisted both St. Louis goals.
Mats Zuccarello tied the game soon after on a wild play. First, Binnington was tangled up with Dallas’ Tyler Seguin and lost his stick, then as David Perron tried to clear the puck, his attempt caromed off the referee and ricocheted off the side of the net to the slot. Zuccarello was on the spot to rip home a shot to make it 1-1.
Had it not been for Bishop’s brilliance in the second and third periods, the Blues would have taken a commanding lead. St. Louis outshot the visitors 31-4 in those two periods.
In that span, the best chance for the Stars came in the final minute, but Zuccarello couldn’t bury the wraparound attempt.
Asked about the next series, Maroon said the Blues have “just got to continue what we’re doing. This is a team that’s been through so much adversity all year, we’ve just got to keep feeling good about ourselves, keep moving in the right direction.”
—Field Level Media