Jordan Binnington looked like a rookie in Game 1

Evan Marinofsky
May 28, 2019 - 2:12 pm
Categories: 

When he faced the media after a 4-2 Bruins win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington continued to utter the same line. 

"It is what it is." 

That line indicated how Binnington felt after the loss and how he played on the ice. On paper, Binnington actually had a solid night -- stopping 34 of 37 shots is by no means bad and stopping 16 of 18 in an offensive outburst of a second period by the Bruins isn't too shabby either. 

But there were many plays during the game that made him look like a rookie. 

The first point in the game where he looked rattled was with about seven minutes to play in the second period. On a power play, the Bruins got the puck to the net and with Binnington down and out, Patrice Bergeron got a shot off from atop the crease and the rookie somehow made the save. During all of this, Bergeron fell on top of Binnington which caused the netminder to lose his stick. 

When the puck left the zone, Binnington took what felt like a while to grab his stick, get back up and regain position. Seconds later, Charlie McAvoy entered the zone and fired home the game-tying goal. 

Binnington was left shaking and hanging his head in disgust -- not something you see an in-the-zone goalie doing in the second period. 

"Well he was fine," said Blues coach Craig Berube on Binnington's play. "He made a lot of great saves. They had a lot of shots, a lot of good opportunities. Like I said, we turned too many pucks over. We didn't move the puck very well, you know. I thought he was fine." 

"Fine" was how Binnington played for the majority of the game. But "fine" wasn't how he handled the third Bruins goal. 

Zdeno Chara threw a knuckle-puck on net that hit Binnington up high. He coughed up the rebound which Noel Acciari picked up and passed to Sean Kuraly for the goal. Binnington was left hanging his head once again. 

Again: rattled. 

"Yeah, [Chara> kind of caught [the puck> halfway through," said Binnington of the game-winner. "I have to be better -- that's my puck there. It happens. Unfortunately we couldn't tie it back up and it is what it is and we have to move on." 

There were other times throughout the game in which the rookie netminder looked uncomfortable. 

Just a minute before Kuraly's goal, Binnington lost his blocker while trying to poke his stick into Brad Marchand as he curled behind the net. After losing it, Binnington stood like the Statue of Liberty, as he waved his bare hand in the air. When the whistle was finally blown, Marchand made sure to give his regards to the Blues' goalie. 

"It is what is is," said Binnington of the Marchand bump. 

But the main play of the night that showcased Binnington being a bit in over his head was when he delivered a hard elbow to David Backes' head in the crease. 

"I don't know," said Binnington of Backes going hard into the crease. "He's an aggressive player. It happens. It is what it is. We'll just stay composed. We'll dictate. He's playing his game and it is what it is." 

With many members of the 2011 Bruins squad in attendance at Game 1 as fan banner captains, it reminisced us back to a time of another goalie who had his fair share of troubles at the Garden -- Roberto Luongo. 

And although "Binnington" doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well as "Luongo" once did, the play of both seems destined to be the same. 

Related: Marc Savard on D&K sympathizes to what Dustin Pedroia is going through