Hometown hero Maroon lifts Blues in Game 7 OT

Pat Maroon always imagined becoming a hometown hero.

The 31-year-old St. Louis native got to live out that fantasy Tuesday night.

Maroon scored 5:50 into the second overtime, Jordan Binnington made 29 saves, and the St. Louis Blues outlasted the Dallas Stars 2-1 in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal playoff series.

St. Louis will face the winner of the San Jose-Colorado series in the conference finals.

Maroon slammed in a loose puck after Robert Thomas' shot hit the right goalpost, bounced off Dallas goalie Ben Bishop and dropped in the crease.

It was the second game-winning goal of the series for Maroon, who savored the moment in front of dozens of family and friends.

"As a kid, playing in a basement, on the street, you always think about doing this," Maroon said. "It's unreal. It means the world."

Maroon deflected credit for the tally to Thomas, whose quick cut to the bottom of the circle following a faceoff win helped create the winner.

"I saw an opening, and I shot it," Thomas said. "He was there to bang it in."

Thomas, who also assisted on the Blues' first goal, is the third teenager in Stanley Cup playoff history with multiple points in a Game 7, joining Trevor Linden (1989) and Dan Quinn (1984).

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Maroon became the first player since 1979 to score a Game 7 overtime winner for his hometown team. Yvon Lambert, born in Drummondville, Quebec -- near Montreal -- did the same for the Canadiens against the Bruins.

Maroon, who turned down longer-term deals for more money this offseason to play closer to family, struggled at times during the regular season, going 23 games without a goal. But he has scored three goals in the postseason.

"I got my game, and I got my confidence back where it needs to be," Maroon said. "It's been a heck of a journey."

St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo felt Maroon deserved a little puck luck.

"He's been working so hard," Pietrangelo said. "What a cool moment for him."

It's a major turnaround for the Blues as a team too. On Jan. 3, they had the fewest points in the league and were 11 points out of the second wild card.

Binnington, a Calder Trophy finalist who helped sparked the turnaround when he started playing regularly, improved to 8-5 in the postseason. He stopped Radek Faksa on a breakaway in the opening period and also made some key stops in the second extra period.

"It was fun for the first three or four periods," Binnington said. "Then I started to get a little tired. We fought until the end. We found a way. It's been working for us."

Vince Dunn also scored for St. Louis.

"It was a pretty good effort from the get-go. They battled and stayed in it," St. Louis interim coach Craig Berube said. "Their goalie had a great game, but our guys never quit and stayed with it."

Bishop made 52 saves and Mats Zuccarello scored for Dallas, which dropped to 5-8 in Game 7s in franchise history.

It marked the first time in NHL history that three playoff series were decided in overtime in Game 7 in the same year. San Jose eliminated Vegas and Carolina beat Washington in the first round with Game 7 overtime wins.

St. Louis, which improved to 9-8 in Game 7s, outshot Dallas 54-30, including 41-16 in regulation. But Bishop was terrific against his first NHL team, keeping the Stars in the game with a handful of big-time stops in regulation and the overtimes.

The Blues jumped in front when Dunn converted a shot from the point 13:30 into the first period. It was his first career playoff goal.

Zuccarello then jumped on a fortunate deflection for Dallas, tying it at 1 at 15:55. A clearing attempt by St. Louis forward David Perron hit referee Marc Joannette and bounced into the slot. Binnington was looking in the other direction and never saw Zuccarello's shot.

Bishop came into the contest with two shutouts in his only two Game 7 appearances, both with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

He made several key saves during a 34-minute stretch when the Blues outshot Dallas 27-2 from the start of the second period. But he was unable to stop what Maroon called a "greasy goal."

"I think it went off the post and hit me in the back of the head," Bishop said. "It just laid there."

Bishop, a Vezina Trophy finalist, made 46 successive saves before Maroon's tally.

"The first word that comes is frustrated," Bishop said. "It's tough to end your season in an overtime game."

Information from ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press was used in this report.