On Wednesday, June 12th, 2019 the Saint Louis Blues beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 in game 7 of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Finals. That win earned them their first Stanley Cup championship in the history of their franchise. It was such an outstanding accomplishment as the Blues were in last place in January of 2019.
A major factor in the success of the team can be attributed to a mid-season coaching change they made. Around one quarter of the way into the NHL season they fired head coach, Mike Yeo, after he was on his way to missing the playoffs for the second straight year. They announced that Craig Berube would be named as the interim head coach of the Blues at that time.
The Midwest hockey team had made some big moves the previous offseason as well. They acquired players such as Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozack, Patrick Maroon, and David Perron. At the beginning of the 2018-2019 season goal tender, Jordan Binnington, was their fourth string goalie, but Berube saw potential in the young net minder bringing him up to start for the Blues. With all these pieces in place the stage was set for St. Louis to make one of the biggest comeback campaigns in sports history.
2019 Playoff Statistics and Achievements:
O’Reilly had an amazing post season run in 2019 NHL playoffs. He played in 26 playoff games in 2019 accounting for 546 minutes of time on the ice as he averaged 21 minutes per game. The Blue’s center scored 8 goals on 54 shots on net with 84 overall shot attempts. His shooting percentage was 14.8%.
He had 15 assists giving the 28 year old 23 points (franchise playoff record) throughout the 2019 NHL playoffs. The Canadian born hockey player had a +/- of 2, 13 blocks, 11 hits, 16 takeaways, 10 giveaways, a 50.1% face off win percentage, and 2 game winning goals throughout the 2019 NHL post season.
2019 Finals Statistics and Achievements:
O’Reilly had an unbelievable Finals scoring 5 goals and dishing out 4 assists over that 7 game stretch. He scored a goal in 4 consecutive Finals games which has not been done since 1985 when Wayne Gretzky accomplished that feat for the Edmonton Oilers. However, he is the first player in NHL history to do that in games 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the Finals. The center also had a six game point streak in the 2019 NHL Finals which has only been done by the legendary Mark Messier of the New York Rangers in 1994.
Conn Smythe Trophy:
The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded to the Most Valuable Player of NHL playoffs on either the Stanley Cup Finals winning team or the team that they defeated in the Finals. The recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2019 was O’Reilly. Glenn Hall was the only other player to win this award after finishing the previous NHL season with a different franchise. Coincidentally both O’Reilly and Hall won the Conn Smythe Trophy with the Blues. Although, Hall was on losing team of the NHL Finals in 1968 while O’Reilly was on the Stanley Cup champion team this year.
“I just looked at the roster, and I was so amped up about it,” says O’Reilly. “I said, ‘Let’s go win the Cup.'”
“We knew it was there, we knew we had the pieces,” he explained. “But it was so educational for myself to see how tough it is and how hard we have to work and how even keel you have to be.”
“There was a couple tough games,” says O’Reilly regarding a rib injury. “But once you kind of get going and the adrenaline takes over, I didn’t notice it.”
“I don’t know what more there is to say about that guy,” says Colton Parayko. “He’s meant so much to us ever since he joined the team.”
“I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t be in the NHL having this as a job if it wasn’t for them (parents) and all this stuff that they put in,” O’Reilly stated. “I couldn’t stop thanking them for putting their lives aside for us, for the kids, and doing whatever we needed to do. … I can’t thank them enough.”
“She’s one of my biggest supporters,” O’Reilly says about his 99 year old grandmother prior to game 7. “I’m hoping I could bring the Cup to her.”