(Photo Credit: Charles Krupa/AP Photo)

By: Tom Calautti | Follow me on Twitter @TCalauttis

The St. Louis Blues came into TD Garden and scored four straight goals en route to a 5-1 victory over the Bruins. After stringing together three wins in four games and seven out of a possible eight points, Boston came out flat and was out of this game early. Here’s how it went down.

Another Slow Start

One thing has been consistent about the 2023-24 Bruins: they don’t get off to good starts. Tonight was no different, as the team squandered an early power play and surrendered the first goal. Old friend Torey Krug gathered a puck at the left point and attempted to wrist it down the boards and behind Boston’s net. Unfortunately for Boston, the puck deflected off a stanchion and trickled onto the stick of Kasperi Kapanen, who beat Jeremy Swayman for the game’s first goal.

The Bruins then took two consecutive penalties with under three minutes remaining in the first, resulting in a five-on-three for the visitors. The Blues made quick work of Boston on the two-person advantage, with Robert Thomas burying a one-timer for his 21st goal and 70th point of the season.

“I didn’t like our start,” said Head Coach Jim Montgomery following the contest. “We didn’t have the kind of intensity that is needed to start a game. I thought their desperation defensively was a little higher than ours.”

Bruins Lose One to Replay

Things went from bad to worse for the Bruins in the second as St. Louis sprung a three-on-one, and Dorchester native Jimmy Hayes buried his 12th of the year. Boston seemed to be dead in the water, but about halfway through the second they received a spark.

There weren’t many areas where the Bruins were sharp tonight, but the team’s fourth line came to play. Jesper Boqvist, Justin Brazeau, and Jakub Lauko combined for four scoring chances and three high-danger chances, and they almost united for Boston’s first goal of the game, being the operative word.

Brazeau took a pass from Jesper Boqvist below the goal line and drove straight to the net. Goaltender Joel Hofer attempted to poke it away from the 6’5″ forward, and it popped into the air and over his shoulder for a goal.

The jubilation was short-lived as the play was deemed offside on a St. Louis challenge. “I thought initially…because their defenseman hit the puck back that it was gonna be a good goal,” said Montgomery. “(The officials) explained it was not a possession play; it was a battle play, and (Brazeau) was in before the puck.”

The Blues seized momentum following the overturned goal, with Brandon Saad burying his 19th of the year with under five minutes to go in the period.

David Pastrnak potted his 41st goal and 94th point of the season in the third period to cut the score to 4-1. The play was classic Pastrnak as he rotated up the blueline between Boston’s two defensemen and blasted a one-timer past the St. Louis netminder. The Blues added an empty net goal and would go on to win 5-1 against the Atlantic Division’s second-place team.

Third-Pair Woes

It was an unfortunate night for Kevin Shattenkirk, who was on the ice for all three of St. Louis’ five-on-five goals. His defense partner Mason Lohrei avoided one of the even-strength goals but still managed to finish the game as a minus-2. While it’s easy to excuse the first goal as a fluke, the second and fourth goals resulted from bad reads on the offensive blueline, ill-advised pinches at inopportune times, and bad transition defense as a whole.

“Tonight, we just didn’t have the same emotion we played with the last four games,” said Captain Brad Marchand. “We knew they were a rush team; we talked about it before the game, and we didn’t do a good enough job of getting above them and playing behind their guys, so that’s what happens.”

All things considered, this game was a classic example of the Black and Gold’s no-show. They outshot, out-chanced, and out-possessed St. Louis but didn’t bring the energy or intensity needed to prevail. Boston’s homestand is coming to an end, and the team will next lace up its skates in Montreal against the Canadiens on Thursday.

Game Notes

  • Kevin Hayes had an assist and a goal in the contest, giving him 25 points on the season. After scoring his goal, he gestured to the sky in remembrance of his brother and former Bruins, Jimmy, who passed away in 2021.
  • Torey Krug notched an assist on the game’s first goal and is now just 23 points away from 500 for his career.
  • Pavel Zacha added an assist on David Pastrnak’s third-period goal, giving him 5-3-8 points in his last five games.
  • Jim Montgomery pulled Jeremy Swayman with over eight minutes remaining in the third, a decision that backfired hilariously fast as the Blues scaled a puck from their own zone into the empty net.