St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington has built a strong reputation for being able to bounce back after losses this post-season, and he certainly looked like a man on a mission early in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.
Don Cherry has been a big fan of the 25-year-old rookie since he first took over the crease in St. Louis and sparked the club’s incredible run from last place in the league to Stanley Cup finalists.
He highlighted Binnington’s first-period heroics during Wednesday’s Coach’s Corner segment.
“The Bruins have run into something, what I call a nightmare: a hot goalie,” Cherry said. “I’ve had it happen to me, I know how they feel.”
Boston outshot the Blues 12-4 in the opening period of Game 7, yet ended the first down 2-0.
“This guy, he’s on a mission right now,” Cherry said, recalling a previous conversation with the netminder:
“I remember in the elevator, he said, ‘We are winning the championship.’ And it looks like he is,” he said. “I mean, this guy … rookie of the year, could be the MVP. I think he’s doing great.”
Though his numbers haven’t been as strong as those of the man at the opposite end of the rink (Tuukka Rask), Binnington has posted some pretty impressive stats this post-season to go with his otherworldly regular season accomplishments to get the Blues into the playoffs. He went into Wednesday’s post-season finale with a 2.52 goals against average, .911 save percentage and a shutout. One more win, and he’ll have the most playoff wins by a rookie goaltender in a single post-season — not to mention, a Stanley Cup.
Cherry believes, should the Blues close out the game and hoist the Cup, Binnington should be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.
“Not only should he be rookie of the year, he should be the MVP if they win.”