Football In High Heels

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NBC Sports’ Stanley Cup Game 4 Thoughts

NBC Sports’ exclusive coverage of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final continued tonight on NBC, as the St. Louis Blues evened the series at two games apiece with a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Mo. It was the first home Stanley Cup Final victory in Blues franchise history. Tonight’s win guarantees a Game 6 on Sunday night in St. Louis.

Seven-time Emmy Award-winning play-by-play commentator Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member and analyst Eddie Olczyk, and Emmy Award-winning ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst Pierre McGuire had the call from Enterprise Center in St. Louis. This marks the 13th consecutive year that Emrick, Olczyk and McGuire have combined to call the Stanley Cup Final for NBC Sports.

Tonight’s pre-game coverage on NBCSN began at 6 p.m. ET with a two-hour edition of NHL Live on NBCSN, featuring outdoor sets amongst the fans to capture the exciting atmosphere in St. Louis. Liam McHugh anchored pre-game, intermission and post-game coverage on-site, alongside analysts and former players Mike Milbury and Keith Jones. Kathryn Tappen hosted pre-game and post-game coverage alongside analysts and former players Jeremy Roenick, Brian Boucher, Anson Carter, and Patrick Sharp.

NHL Live special guests to visit the outdoor set included top American 2019 NHL Draft prospects, Jack Hughes and Alex Turcotte, as well as Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Coverage shifted inside the arena at 7:30 p.m. ET.

McHugh, Milbury and Jones hosted “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky during the first intermission and Emmy Award-winning actor Jon Hamm in the second.

NHL Live features included:

  • 11-year-old Laila Anderson, a Blues super-fan who is battling a rare disease called HLH, a systemic inflammatory syndrome;
  • Blues goalie Jordan Binnington, whose unlikely path to the Stanley Cup Final first took him through the Bruins’ minor league system;
  • And Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, who made history for the Bruins in Game 3 with his four-point power-play performance.

Post-Game on NBCSN

Jones on O’Reilly: “I thought it was his best game of the playoffs and a timely one at that.”

McHugh: “This crowd was electric tonight. They were engaged on every single moment of the action.”

Jones: “A really courageous effort by the Bruins missing their captain. Zdeno Chara sitting on the bench the entire third period, never opened his mouth, so you have to wonder what happened there – broken jaw? He never spoke. That is a major issue in this series moving forward.”

Milbury: “A game they really needed to win. I don’t think anybody thought the Bruins were going to get beat three in a row especially two at home if they won this game, but now we press the restart button.”

Milbury: “It was a lot like Game 2, I thought. (The Blues) don’t have the offensive wherewithal to blow the Bruins out of the building, but because they came with such pressure, such consistency, and with a five-man attack…That ability to sustain pressure in the offensive zone is exactly the way this throwback St. Louis Blues team wants to play, and they can with a real purpose.”

Third Period

McGuire: “One of the strengths of the Blues all night long, they’ve been angling fantastically well, taking away the speed quotient of the Bruins in the neutral zone.”

Olczyk on Blues final goal: “Brayden Schenn jumps on ice, change of lines, they force a turnover, the Bruins not able to get the puck in deep and get anything sustained, and Schenn hits the wide-open net.”

Emrick with two minutes remaining: “Virtually everybody in this arena standing now.”

Olczyk: “That’s another story right there, Doc. Zdeno Chara, hurt in period two, returns to the bench in period three. The only ice time he saw was in a TV timeout trying to rally the troops.”

McGuire on O’Reilly: “He had a tremendous Game 2, two goals in Game 2, and having a heck of a Game 4 here, obviously.”

Olczyk on O’Reilly’s second goal: “There’s no better feeling as an offensive player than when you go to the right area and the puck finds you.”

Emrick: “For the second time tonight, Ryan O’Reilly celebrates.”

Olczyk: “Take a breath, Doc. Lot’s going on here in this third period.”

Emrick: “What chaos!”

Second Intermission

Milbury on Brandon Carlo’s short-handed goal: “It takes a lot of courage when you’re short-handed to get on your horse and get up there and get in position to grab that rebound. The Bruins have put themselves in position to win this hockey game although they’ve been outplayed for the better part of it.”

Jones: “Rask is on, so it’s going to take a great shot to beat him.”

Milbury to Jon Hamm: “I’ve got to ask you a Mad Men question because you were such an excellent scumbag in that (show). If you knew me better, you’d know I can relate to someone like that, and I want to know if it was just delicious to play something so morally corrupt, or was it really an effort on your part?”

Hamm: “Well, it’s always good when you’ve got good writing. That’s really what it was all about for that. Whenever you get writing of that caliber, it makes my job a lot easier, and we had one of the best writers in the world – Matt Weiner – write that guy. It was great. It’s fun to play the bad guy sometimes.”

Hamm on the second period: “It was intense. It was amazing. That’s why this game is so great to watch because it can turn on a dime like that.”

Second Period

McGuire: “The Bruins have really picked on the five-hole of Jordan Binnington.”

Emrick on intense action: “Bedlam. They’re screaming here.”

First Intermission

Jones: “The Blues stayed out of the penalty box and that allowed them to battle back when some adversity struck.”

Jones: “The Bruins look very dangerous on the rush in this game.”

Milbury: “If you’re a St. Louis fan, you take out of this that they got back to their game. They got back to where O’Reilly wanted them to be and they did it in a good way.”

Gretzky on the Blues physicality: “That starts with their coach. Craig Berube was one of the most honest players to ever play the game, played hard, played tough, straight ahead. So, if they play hard, physical hockey, this still could be a long series. It’s not over yet.”

First Period

McGuire on Charlie Coyle after goal to tie the game: “Charlie Coyle is as hot as any player in this Stanley Cup Final.”

Emrick on Vince Dunn after Ryan O’Reilly’s goal to make it 1-0 Blues: “His first shift after missing six games, his jaw wired shut, Dunn comes up with the secondary assist on the scoring play that gets the Blues ahead in Game 4…I cannot imagine playing a sport that requires so much breathing and having your jaw wired. And I enjoy milkshakes, but not that many.”

McGuire on Ryan O’Reilly’s goal: “Ryan O’Reilly who had a real tough Game 3 shows up to start for Game 4 here.”

NHL Live on NBCSN (6-8 p.m. ET)

Emrick: “Game 4, best of seven for the hardest championship there is to win.”

Jones: “They (the Bruins) wrestled the Blues down to the mat, now keep them there.”

Carter on Torey Krug: “He’s the main reason why this power play is so dynamic. They’ve got a lot of interchangeable parts. That’s because Torey Krug can play up, down low, and he can make plays off the rush.”

Jones on Game 3 officiating: “I thought the officials did a very good job as that game moved along. It could have gotten crazy in the third period (when Boston had a decisive lead) … often you’ll see a lot more fights and a lot more pushing and shoving. The refs did a good job of calming that game down.”

Olczyk on the Blues: “The one thing the Blues have always been able to do – whether it’s Jordan Binnington or as a team – they’ve been able to bounce back after some tough performances. I think that’s the leadership inside the locker room, I think it has a lot to do with Craig Berube, the head coach of the St. Louis Blues. I expect them to bounce back in a big way. Will it be good enough? Time will tell. But they’ve always responded after having a tough game, and it was a tough game.”

Boucher on Binnington bumping Rask in Game 3: “This is something that I didn’t like. These antics here by Jordan Binnington going to throw his shoulder into Tuukka Rask, he did it the Second Round against Dallas as well. I’d like to see him be a little more focused on the game at hand, and a little less on that type of stuff. Tuukka Rask has been bumped plenty in these playoffs, he’s stayed calm and cool. I’d like to see him follow that suit.”

Boucher on Blues G Jordan Binnington in Game 3: “As an NHL goaltender at this time of year playing for a Stanley Cup, you’re expected to not only make routine saves, but occasionally make the save that could change the course of a hockey game. he was not able to do that.”

Boucher on Bruins G Tuukka Rask: “The big thing that I’ve liked about his game is this, he’s gotten bumped several times in the playoffs and he has not come unhinged. There’s been times in his career when he was younger maybe situations like that would have put Tuukka Rask in a different mindset. Hasn’t been the case.”

Roenick: “For the St. Louis Blues, I think this is as close to a must-win as you can get.”

Tappen: “If we’ve learned anything these Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s these Blues do not go down easy.”

***

NBC Sports’ coverage of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final from TD Garden in Boston, Mass., begins Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Pre-game coverage begins with a special two-hour edition of NHL Live at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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