ST. LOUIS – 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 final.
Maroon slammed in a loose puck after Robert Thomas hit the goal post on a rush down the right wing. The puck then 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 rush helped create the winner.
“I saw an opening and I shot it,” Thomas said. “He was there to bang it in.”
Maroon struggled at times during the regular season, going 23 games without a goal. But he has scored three goals in the postseason.
“I got to 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,” Piertrangelo said. “What a cool moment for him.”
Binnington, a Calder Trophy finalist, improved to 8-5 in postseason play. 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.
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.