Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper (USA TODAY Sports
The Bruins are missing four key players from their lineup and will need to play their best to beat a St. Louis team that is on a three-game win streak. Jake Allen is in nets, facing off against Tuukka Rask. Peter Cehlarik is back in the lineup for the first time since November 24th, sliding in alongside Nash and Backes on the left side.
What I Am Looking Forward To
I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Bruins respond to their first regulation loss since December 14th. They had tons of chances in the second half of their last game but converted too late. Jake Allen comes into tonight’s game going 0-5 in his last five games while giving up 3.4 goals against in those contests.
The game started out pretty evenly matched, with both teams getting shots on net. Both goalies looked solid, but Rask seemed very sound tonight. Bergeron and his line have found success when they cycle the puck and get those close slot one-timers, and that is exactly what they are trying to do in the early minutes of the game. The Bruins seemed to be really trying to connect on some pre-set breakout plays, which would be a great idea if they weren’t always stopped at their own blueline. Jake DeBrusk and Ryan Spooner gave a textbook example of the slot one-timer, which then jumped over the shoulder of Jake Allen and fell into the crease, where a dog pile occurred where Allen was moved completely out of his crease and David Krejci was able to fire in a rebound into an empty net. It was reviewed, but the call on the ice was confirmed and it was a good goal. St. Louis came back with a more aggressive approach on the attack, focusing on keeping bodies in front of Rask. While they did get more chances, Rask kept shutting down everything that was thrown at him.
BOS – Krejci (DeBrusk, Spooner)
STL – N/A
Bruins came into the second leading in shots, but with St. Louis getting the majority of the chances at the end of the first, Boston came back by cycling the puck and getting shots in on net from the point. The Bruins were looking for passes to the slot while they were on the rush, which were shut down by the Blues. David Backes was definitely a stand out in this period, using his large frame to move people off of the puck. He had a lot of great chances in front of the net, but Jake “The Snake” Allen stopped all that he was given that period.
BOS – N/A
STL – N/A
Both teams came out swinging, getting great chances at both ends. Spooner and Krejci were all over the Blues in the offensive end. The Bruins were good at movement down low in the Blues’ end but had some issues when it came to their own defensive breakouts. Around the 13-minute mark, Vladimir Tarasenko put his stick into Torey Krug’s hands, and Krug decided to throw himself to the ground in hopes of drawing a penalty. He did draw one and on the ensuing power play, Bergeron connected on a great low-slot one-timer that beat Allen high blocker. A scrum, later on, took the game to 4-on-4 for the next two minutes. Rask made a great stop against a bouncing puck, staying calm as he usually is. Chara took a slashing call with about five minutes remaining in play, and the Bruins killed it off without a hitch. St. Louis pulled Allen with over two minutes left, a very aggressive time usually, but with the Blues being down by two, they needed as much time as they can, and it paid off. Schwartz scored with 1:32 left in the game off of a deflection and they were right back in the game. Mike Yeo pulled Allen again, and Boston started to get aggressive by icing the puck while trying to score, and finally, Backes popped one in the empty net with 0.4 seconds left in the game, sealing the win for the hometown team.
BOS – Bergeron PP (Pastrnak, Spooner), Backes EN
STL – Schwartz (Schenn, Tarasenko)
Miller is a key part of the Bruins defense currently, and with McAvoy still questionable on his return, this could mean a big hole in the defensive core for the Bruins against the Maple Leafs.
KG’s Three Stars Of The Game
1st: Tuukka Rask – Rask was lights out this game. No other way to explain it. The one goal he let in was a double-tipped puck and I’m not sure pretty much any goalie can get those. Rask ended the game with a 0.970 save percentage on 33 shots. He won them that game.
2nd: Ryan Spooner – Spooner had a great night, both on offense and defense. He was cycling the puck very efficiently and setting people up all night long. He had two assists on the night. He also moved the puck well in the offensive end, creating lanes with his quick feet.
3rd: Patrice Bergeron – It seems like #37 always finds a way to get one of the three stars. He’s been playing his usual way. Great on offense, even better on defense. He had four shots on goal and the game-winning power-play goal. Solid night for the NHL’s second star of the month of January.
MUP (Most Under-Appreciated Player): David Backes – Backes played a very gritty, tough game against his former team. He delivered some devastating hits and was getting chances left and right.
BIRDHOUSE – Round-up of the best Tweets during the game
Saturday, February 3rd in Boston vs Toronto