Boston, MA – The St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins haven’t faced each other in 899 days. Still, there was an intensity and familiarity at TD Garden on Tuesday as the two teams renewed acquaintances for the first time since October 26, 2019.
The 2018-19 Stanley Cup Finals were still fresh in everyone’s minds when the two clubs last squared off against each other early in the 2019-20 season. Torey Krug was still a Boston Bruin then. Boston won that night 3-0.
Tuesday night in front of 17,850 would be a different story. The Bruins were left signing the Blues as St. Louis rallied late in the second period to erase a 2-1 deficit and pull away for a 4-2 victory on two Vladimir Tarasenko goals.
Tarasenko adds insult to injury as #stlblues make it 4-2 @ 9:27 of the 3rd. #NHLBruins were threatening at other end too… #STLvsBOS Been a different game since the Frederic penalty pic.twitter.com/dsGdriChgf
— PuckingOff™ (Jason Scales) (@PuckingOff) April 13, 2022
The Blues jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead just thirty-four seconds into the game when Ryan O’Reilly dished past a sliding Bruins defenseman Mike Reilly to a hard-charging David Perron on a two-on-one. Perron deked Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman and flipped a back-hander in for his 24th of the season.
The Bruins answered even quicker than the Blues scored. Just fifteen seconds later, Brad Marchand set up Patrice Bergeon in the slot for his twentieth goal. Marchand beat Blues defenseman Colton Parayako into the Blues corner to retrieve the Bruins dump before he circled the net to find the captain for the game-tying goal 1-1 before the first minute of play had even passed.
In his fifth NHL game, Marc McLaughlin placed the Bruins in the lead at 16:39 of the period when he banged in a pass by Erik Haula from behind the Blues net. McLaughlin’s second of the year beats Ville Husso (39 saves) between the legs for his second goal.
“Our habits were good for half the game,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “We’re playing well in the second period. We’re in the end the whole time. We’re playing the way most of our lines are constructed to play.”
The Bruins were outplaying the Blues and protecting their one-goal lead in the second period. Then a Trent Frederic penalty gave the Blues the power play at 14:17. Frederic went to hit Tarasenko after the whistle blew on a St. Louis offsides, but the veteran forward put Frederic on his backside instead. Frederic hopped up and started a quarrel as Parayako came to the aid of his teammate. Frederic went to the penalty box for Roughing.
Former Bruin and birthday boy Krug tied the game when he corralled a Brayden Schenn pass below the blue line and beat Swayman (26 saves) with a shot from between the circles for his ninth goal. Earlier during the game, the TD Garden crowd gave Krug a standing ovation. The former Bruin defenseman rested on the boards as a highlight tribute video played on the Jumbotron. It was Krug’s first time back since leaving via free agency after the 2019-20 Covid impacted season.
Tarasenko put the Blues ahead at 18:12 of the period when he buried a no-look pass from Robert Thomas past Swayman for his 27th. Thomas carried the puck through the neutral zone and past Marchand before sliding the puck to Buchnevich, who quickly touched it back to Thomas on the give and go. Thomas then dished a no-look between the legs pass to a trailing Tarasenko. The pass was slightly behind the 6′-1″ Russian, who gathered the puck before spinning around and firing the puck past Swayman blocker-side high.
Tarasenko netted his second goal on a three-on-one Blues opportunity when Boston’s Charlie Coyle lost possession at the St. Louis blue line. A quick out by Krug led to tic-tac-toe passing between Buchnevich and Tarasenko before Tarasenko blasted a one-timer past Swayman from the bottom of the right circle at 9:27 of the third period.
Despite the Bruins’ attempts during six-on-five play over the last two minutes of the game, that’s how this one would end. The Blues have won eight of their last ten while the Bruins have lost three out of four.
Boston lost defenseman Brandon Carlo early in the first period putting an already depleted defensive corp behind the eight-ball.
“Very high,” was Cassidy’s response when asked about the level of disappointment in the play by Frederic and the overall effort for the night.
Cassidy also chaulked up the amount of odd-man rushes by the Blues to the play of his squad.
“Our mistakes,” said Cassidy. “A lot of our mistakes. They move the puck well, support the puck well, and their D is very active, but we made many mistakes. The first goal we don’t cover for the D’s in between. The third one was a face-off win. We don’t get to the middle as a D. We lose a battle and we don’t reload to the right position, so that led to one.”
“Charlie Coyle refused to shoot the puck towards the net,” added Cassidy of the last Blues goal. “We had people going there, and he loses a battle, and they’re gone. Two of them (goals) we had the puck on our stick.”
“Really, it’s just not very intelligent hockey,” said Cassidy. “You don’t win against good teams when you don’t play intelligent hockey. I think our effort, we’re trying, guys are working hard. It’s just we got to be smarter. Plain and simple.”
The Bruins will host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday at 7:00 pm EST.