On a night that started out all about Zdeno Chara playing with a mangled jaw, it was Jordan Binnington who made a statement of his own. He led his team to a tight 2-1 victory to take a 3-2 lead in the series.
Binnington hasn’t been at the top of his game throughout the Stanley Cup Final, even being pulled for the first time in his NHL career in Game 3.
Overall, his numbers look pretty weak but they’re skewed quite a bit by Game 3 where he allowed five goals on 19 shots. In the end, he just hasn’t been able to steal a game until now. Compared to the average amount of shots he’s faced per game in the Final, he had a pretty busy night. In Game 5, he put on a show.
He came up with some huge saves including this beauty on a nice tip by Noel Acciari.
With the series tied at 2 apiece, the Blues knew they needed to steal at least one game in Boston. Binnington decided he would go ahead and do just that, putting together his best game of the Final. Even though he faced a lot of dangerous shots, he managed to keep a perfect slot save percentage.
Most importantly is that -2.40 actual to expected goals against. That means that compared to league average goaltending, Binnington saved his team over two extra goals against. In what turned out to be a one-goal game, there’s no denying that he was their most valuable player.
The series isn’t over yet but if Binnington puts together another game like this, it’ll be immensely difficult for the Bruins to make a comeback. Binnington proved himself to be the difference maker in Game 5 and now has his team on the brink of winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)