The Blues couldn’t have pulled it off without their Conn Smythe winner, Ryan O’Reilly. He was a warrior all series long even while playing through cracked ribs he sustained in the second round against the Dallas Stars.
O’Reilly’s style of play isn’t always the flashiest but he quietly continued to be effective at all ends of the ice throughout the entire playoffs.
He led the playoffs in points along with using his quick stick to block more passes than any other forward and subsequently recovering more pucks too. His commitment to both ends of the ice is what made him a Selke Trophy finalist this year and his great play over the playoffs combined with an excellent Final earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy.
If you’re looking for a difference-maker for the #STLBlues tonight, look no further than Ryan O’Reilly. The Selke candidate has been playing some outstanding hockey on both ends of the ice in the #StanleyCup Final and is making a late case for the Conn Smythe. #WeAllBleedBlue pic.twitter.com/9nt8FbhpbG
— The Point (@ThePointHockey) June 12, 2019
Jordan Binnington had a year he’ll never forget. He made his first start on January 7th on a team that no more than five days before had been in last place in the league but he came in and not only did he win, but he recorded a shutout as well. That game sparked an incredible turnaround where the Blues went 29-14 to put themselves back in the playoffs.
The key to Binnington’s play was his ability to come back strong after a loss. In the playoffs, he was able to bounce back with a record of 8-2 after losses and some incredible numbers.
That resiliency was on display in Game 7 where he may have had his best game of the postseason. He only gave up one goal and managed to make some incredible game-saving stops in the first period when the Blues went over 15 minutes without recording a shot.
If it hadn’t been for O’Reilly’s spectacular play, Binnington would’ve been a shoo-in for the Conn Smythe. He set a rookie postseason record with 16 wins and proved all the doubters wrong.
The Blues struggles on the man-advantage were punctuated in the Final where they went 1 for 18. Luckily for them, they were dominant at 5v5 where they scored more goals than any other team per game throughout the playoffs.
They used a strong possession game where they would work the puck down low, wearing down the opposing defense before taking it to the net and battling until the puck went in. They hounded the puck all over the offensive zone forcing turnovers.
Their 5v5 offense totally made up for a lackluster power play. They stuck to their identity of playing hard, heavy minutes in the offensive zone over playing a quick-striking offense and it worked for them.
Congratulations to the St. Louis Blues on an incredible run and their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)