How St. Louis, the worst team in the NHL in January, made it to the Stanley Cup final.

Whether it is not nerve-wracking for him, asked a journalist at the beginning of the playoffs in the North American professional league NHL. Jordan Binnington pinched his lips briefly and then answered with a counter question: "Am I looking nervous?" No, said the interlocutor. "Then you have your answer." That sat, this man seems to have plenty of self-confidence.

Such an answer is not surprising, considering the fact that she has given an NHL player. The people who are there on the ice, have prevailed against a huge global competition, which are hardened. But Binnington is actually not an experienced player, he has only been playing in the strongest ice hockey league in the world since January. His appointment came very late, one must add, he is a league freshman at the age of 25 years. Such a person could also be a doubtful character. But to doubt Binnington just missing the reasons. Since coming to the gate of the St. Louis Blues, he has led the team, which was thought to never win a Stanley Cup, to the first Stanley Cup final since 1970. In the night on Tuesday (2 o'clock CEST) they start the Best-of-7Series at the Boston Bruins, curiously enough, that was 49 years ago the opponent. "That's incredible," said attacker Pat Maroon, born and raised in St. Louis, after the win. "This city has been waiting for this for so many years."

The story of the finals has to do with the history of Binnington. Because on January 2, the team from the US state of Missouri was still the worst in the league. Coach Craig Berube dared something and set five days later for the first time on Binnington, who had been goalkeeper of the farm team in the American Hockey League (AHL) for years, at times he even played in the third-rate ECHL and therefore held an NHL career therefore probably only for conditionally possible. But then he left in his first use for the Blues no goal against the Philadelphia Flyers to (3: 0). He quickly became a sure back and helped St. Louis become the league's strongest team in their 45 main-round games since early January. The blues remained unbeaten 30 times and in the playoffs they beat the Winnipeg Jets in narrow series and then the Dallas Stars and the San José Sharks.

A secret of success: Binnington does not ponder after bad games

Binnington has not always held up at this time, but he still has a passable go-ahead (1.89 in the main round, 2.37 in the playoffs) and he has the ability to do so even after bad games in which he has conceded five or six goals, comes back strong and not brooding at all. When his team was whistled out of their own hall after losing to Dallas 2-3 after winning the series, Binnington then led to two decisive victories. St. Louis moved into the final of the Western Conference. "He always found the right answer," says coach Berube about the keeper. No, a normal rookie is not.

On top of that, the blues also have the team in front of him as strong as they have not been for a long time. For example, attacker Jaden Schwartz, brother of former Bremerhaver and soon-to-be Nurnberg Rylan, has already scored 12 times in the playoffs, and his partner Vladimir Tarasenko was the top scorer in the series with eight points in the six conference finals against San José. It has been working a lot in the city of music for a long time now.

Nevertheless, it is not St Louis that is favored in the final series, but Boston, which finished the main round in the East as the second-best team. But what does that mean this year, in which Jordan Binnington succeeds so much that was never thought possible? "Am I looking nervous?", He would probably ask now. This man starts confident in the series against the Bruins.

. (tagsToTranslate) Ice hockey (t) Sports on weekends (t) Sports (t) Süddeutsche Zeitung (t) SZ


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