Bruins Take Game One Despite Trailing 2-0 in Second Period
Boston, Ma. – After a six day wait for the Blues and their faithful, and an eleven day wait for the Bruins and their fans, the Stanley Cup Finals finally kicked off at TD Garden. Both teams showed a bit of rust after their respective hiatuses, but that was quickly shaken off.
The Bruins threatened first when Brad Marchand sent a pass out front that David Pastrnak blasted on Blues goalie Jordan Binnington that trickled through the keepers legs and lay just shy of the goal line. Jake DeBrusk followed up with a rush after stealing the puck at the St. Louis blue line only to be turned aside by the rookie keeper.
Sean Kuraly was whistled for Tripping at 3:37 giving the Blues the first power play of the Finals. The Bruins had an excellent kill keeping the ninth ranked power play from generating a shot on net.
The Bruins seemed to be having their way with the Blues, keeping steady pressure in the St. Louis zone. The speed of Vladimir Tarasenko led to St. Louis’ first goal of the game. The Russian winger beat Zdeno Chara in a race for an icing, keeping the play alive, and in the Bruins zone. Brayden Schenn wristed a rebound past Rask for the 1-0 Blues lead at 7:23.
The Bruins had their first power play at 13:15 when David Perron was called for Tripping. The top ranked power play of Boston had their best chance when Marcus Johansson hit the crossbar with a shot that beat Binnington. The two teams were tied at eights shots apiece, and St. Louis had the slight edge in face-offs won, 14-8.
A minute into second period opened an errant no look pass behind the Bruins net by Pastrnak led to St. Louis’ second goal. Pastrnak’s pass was picked off by Schenn, who dished to Tarasenko out front. He wasted no time burying it past Rask stick side.
Despite being down by two goals, the Bruins play intensified. Kuraly carried the puck through the neutral zone and into the Blues end. He fed a pass to a streaking Connor Clifton, who got behind defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, and chipped the puck past Binnington.
Joel Edmundson let his emotions get the best of him when he was called for High Sticking on David Backes at 5:25. Edmundson yelled at Backes as he was down on the ice, then cross-checked him as he got to his knees. St. Louis successfully killed of the Bruins power play.
You can only get away with giving the Bruins so many power plays before they make you pay. At 11:04 Oskar Sundquist was called for Cross-Checking. Charlie McAvoy cashed in when his wrist shot from the top of the right circle bet Binnington at 12:41.
The Bruins outshot the Blues 18-3 for the second despite losing the face-off battle 19-17.
St. Louis couldn’t handle the forecheck of Boston’s “fourth line” early in the third. A Chara rebound was picked up by Noel Acciari, who spun off Carl Gunnarsson and fed Kuraly across the crease. Kuraly was able to bang home the pass through Edmunson’s legs and past a sprawling Binnington for the 3-2 lead at 5:21.
Summing up the night was Torrey Krug. After getting mauled in front of Rask by Perron, a helmet-less Krug raced down the ice and delivered the biggest hit of the night on Blues rookie Robert Thomas. Thomas picked up an errant shot along the boards, turned to exit the zone and was met by Krug. The sellout crowd of 17, 565 went crazy.
After a St. Louis timeout with 2:13 left to play and the face-off in Boston’s zone, Blues coach Craig Berube pulled Binnington for the extra attacker. Just :24 seconds later Brad Marchant closed out the contest with an empty net goal on a shot from the Blues blue line. Boston took game one 4-2 after outshooting the visitors 38-20.
“We were fine, we were playing,” said Berube of the Blues play going up 2-0. “They (Boston) went down on the partial three on two, and off the skate and in the net obviously gave them momentum. And I thought they were the better team after that.”
“We’ve used Kuraly’s line all year against good lines so we decided to go that route,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “It worked out for us tonight.” Cassidy added that the line of Kuraly, Acciari and Joakim Nordstrom have been solid all season. “This is what they do. They possess pucks, they can skate, they play simple hockey…at the end of the day they always play a straight line game. Sometimes they get rewarded, sometimes they don’t, but they always play the same way. So that’s what they did tonight, they got rewarded by going to the net.”
Game two is Wednesday night at TD Garden. Puck drop is 8:23 pm Central.