(Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Home: Boston Bruins
Away: St. Louis Blues
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Krejci – Backes
Johansson – Coyle – Heinen
Nordstrom – Kuraly – Acciari
Chara – McAvoy
Krug – Carlo
Grzelcyk – Clifton
St Louis’s Lineup
Schwartz – Schenn – Tarasenko
Blais – O’Reilly – Perron
Fabbri – Bozak – Maroon
Barbashev – Sundqvist – Steen
Edmundson – Pietrangelo
Bouwmeester – Parayko
Gunnarsson – Bortuzzo
A game one win for the Bruins that had featured plenty of fireworks set up for an epic game two. David Backes got right into the fray after a bust game one, this time with Patrick Maroon just 2:04 in front of Tuukka Rask.
The first power play came following a Sammy Blais collision with Rask. Charlie Coyle made it hurt and scored 49 seconds into the power play. Coyle’s seventh of the playoffs was assisted by Jake DeBrusk (5) and David Pastrnak (9). Their power play struggled in game one, but set the tone early thanks to Coyle’s five-hole goal.
The Blues didn’t waste too much time before they responded off of a Robert Bortuzzo shot that snuck by Rask and in. The puck deflected off of Matt Grzelcyk before finding its way to the back of the net.
But wait, there’s more. Joakim Nordstrom buried one on the backhand. Another five-hole goal, Nordstrom’s third of the playoffs, was a product of Sean Kuraly’s fifth assist.
Yet another response goal came with around five minutes left. Rask made the save initially, as did Chara afterward, but Vladimir Tarasenko buried the third chance to tie the game at two.
Oskar Sundqvist went off for two minutes as a result of an iffy hit from behind on Matt Grzelcyk and a large scrum ensued. Grzlecyk left the ice and went to the locker room with the assistance of his teammates and Head Athletic Trainer Don DelNegro. The Bruins failed to convert on the power play before the end of the period.
The Blues outhit the Bruins 18-9 and outshot them 10-8. It was a rollercoaster of a period that ended in suspense as a result of the Grzelcyk injury.
Tarasenko went to the locker room within the first minute of the period after sliding awkwardly into the boards with Nordstrom in pursuit — not what the Blues wanted. Grzekcyk was not on the Bruins bench to start the period.
In better news, Bill Belichick went out of his way to talk to Todd Angilly after he waved the banner before the game.
Connor Clifton was the first to head to the box in the second for interference with 16:26 to go. St. Louis didn’t convert. Backes is not messing around when it comes to getting amongst the physicality and tension with his former team.
Tarasenko returned to the Blues bench, Grzlecyk did not return to the Bruins bench. Similar to what happened between Clifton and Edmundson happened with DeBrusk and Edmundson, with DeBrusk on the receiving end and Edmundson going to the box for tripping. Edmundson also gave DeBrusk a stinger beforehand with a slash. No dice on the power play for the Bruins.
Zdeno Chara was not pleased with the effort level in the period, as the Bruins were getting outplayed.
The penalties kept coming, this time in the form of a Clifton high-sticking penalty on Tyler Bozak that drew blood. The Bruins had a double minor penalty to kill of before the end of the second period.
Nordstrom did his best Gregory Campbell impression on the power play, eating two huge shot blocks. Just past halfway into the extended St. Louis power play came a goaltender interference penalty against Jaden Schwartz, creating a 4-on-4.
Torey Krug found himself with his helmet off again, this time he was tangled up with Colton Parayko. In the final seconds, before the Bruins pulled the goalie with 1.2 seconds left, Krug was amongst a scrum in front of Jordan Binnington being an agitator. Known agitator Brad Marchand was doing his thing at the end of the period too.
The Blues advantages in the first two periods in hits and shots stayed true through the second. The hits were 15-10, and the shots were 14-6 in the period, bringing the totals to 33-19 and 24-14 respectively. The Bruins needed a response in the third period. The absence of Grzelcyk was hurting them, amongst other things.
Grzelcyk was not on the bench for the third period either, leaving the Bruins shorthanded on the back end again. Also, Clifton blocked a shot with his forehead and Krug made a huge defensive play to stop a cross-crease chance.
The plays the Bruins were trying to make in the second period and into the third just weren’t very cohesive for the most part, and St. Louis was not letting up on them.
An opportunity for a momentum shift came in the form of a power play with 6:38 left in the period. Brayden Schenn helped snap Noel Acciari’s stick in the middle of a shot, along with the flex on the stick. Some chances came and went for the Bruins, but nothing concrete and the game remained tied.
A hectic end to the period followed and no one scored, leading to overtime.
Third period: Hits: 12-12, Shots: 9-9
Regulation: Hits: 45-31 St. Louis, Shots: 33-23 St. Louis
Bad news came during the intermission and free hockey ensued.
The Blues had the Bruins pinned in their own zone for the large majority of the first three minutes. Shortly after Brandon Carlo drew a delayed call, a Carl Gunnarsson slapshot from the point beat Rask through an Alex Pietrangelo screen to end it. The Blues had four shots to zero for the Bruins and won thanks to their suffocating forecheck and zone pressure. Rask made 34 saves on 37 shots and was a huge reason as to why the game made it to overtime.
Game three in St. Louis is up next on Saturday at 8 PM ET. The Bruins will need to be much better going forward.