Binnington Needs to be A LOT Better Come Game 7
By Patrick Hoffman
Going into these Stanley Cup playoffs, St. Louis Blues' rookie netminder Jordan Binnington was the talk of the league.
Binnington's, 25, play in the regular season lifted the Blues from the basement of the league to a playoff contender. His fine play also made him a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's rookie of the year.
The accolades he earned in the regular season were more than well deserved. Heck, he was 24-5-1 with a 1.89 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage, and five shutouts.
When it comes to the playoffs, however, Binnington certainly has not been as good. As of this writing (June 10) he is 15-10 with a 2.52 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage, and one shutout.
What's glaring is his play in the Final. Yes, I realize that he has his team one win away from their first Cup in franchise history, but overall, he's been highly inconsistent.
Binnington has allowed 17 goals on 172 shots so far (As of June 10) in this series. While that is not exactly terrible, giving up this number of goals in the Final certainly isn't helpful.
Several of the goals he has allowed in this series have been of the soft variety. Binnington has also been caught out of position on a few goals and has had trouble making the big saves when his team needs one.
I realize that's not all on him, but he certainly needs to keep his goals against down. This especially needs to be the case on Wednesday night.
Binnington also seems to be a bit rattled in this series. After being unflappable in the first three rounds, the Bruins have a found a way to frustrate him, get lots of traffic in his crease, and get in is face when he covers up the puck.
In Game 7, he will need to not let the little stuff bother him. He needs to be focused on the puck at all times and keep his game simple if he wants to give his team a chance to win the most important game in franchise history.
On Wednesday night, Binnington has a chance to do something that no other Blues' masked man has done and that's win a Cup. It's a talk task considered the game is in Boston, but in the playoffs, both Binnington and his teammates have been doing a lot of winning on the road.
If he can get his game together and be the rock wall that he was in the regular season, there's a good chance that Binnington and the Blues will be lifting the Cup come the end of the game on Wednesday night.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.