The Blues take a 3-2 series lead over the Bruins, chance to clinch at home
Boston, Ma. – Game five of the 2019 edition of the Stanley Cup Finals kicked off with Bruins legends, and Blues tormentors, Bobby Orr and Derek Sanderson as honorary captains. The current Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was the story from the moment he took a puck to the face in the second period of game four. Will he or won’t he was the question of these last few days. Chara didn’t disappoint the Boston faithful, he received a thunderous ovation when his name was announced in the starting lineups.
Boston rode the emotion of their captain’s toughness and their fans applause all period but Blues goalie Jordan Binnington was impervious to it all. The Bruins came out buzzing, they peppered Binnington with shots and Chara leveled Brayden Schenn on the first shift but to no avail.
The Bruins power play had the game’s first chance at 6:27 when defenseman Vince Dunn was called for Delay Of Game when he put the puck out of play in the Blues zone. The Bruins created two solid chances being a man up, but Binnington turned them aside. Later in the period David Pastrnak set up Brad Marchand point blank but the goalie stoned him, then Patrice Bergeron followed up with a one timer that Binnington deflected out of play.
Boston outshot St. Louis 17-8 for the first period despite losing the face off battle 16-4.
The Blues had a a solid chance on Rask early in the second when Colton Parayko threaded a pass through the neutral zone to Vladimir Tarasenko at the Bruins blue line. Rask was able to make the leg save as the speedy Russian tried to go wide on him.
After being the hero of game four on Monday, Ryan O’Reilly struck again just :55 seconds into the second period. Just over the goal line and to Rask’s right, Zach Sanford made a beautiful pass through his legs, and those of defenseman Charlie McAvoy, to O’Reilly who buried the puck for the 1-0 lead.
Boston kept up the pressure, as a Branden Carlo shot from the blue line was tipped by Noel Acciari but Binnington was able to react quickly. David Perron was whistled for Interference at 9:25 but the Bruins power play was sloppy and didn’t muster much offense until it was nearly killed off.
The biggest save of the second period actually belonged to Bruins forward David Krejci. Alex Pietrangelo had a wide open net after he deked Rask out of his crease, but Krejci threw himself in front of the net and robbed the Blues captain.
The third period started off with the Bruins again buzzing. Defenseman Steve Kampfer had his slapshot hit the crossbar early in the period. The Bruins pressure led to a penalty on St. Louis’ Alexander Steen at 3:09. Boston’s power play would clicking but couldn’t solve Binnington.
Almost midway through the period the officiating was magnified as Tyler Bozak slew footed Acciari, causing a turnover in the Boston zone. O’Reilly dished to Perron, who was able to beat Rask five hole for the 2-0 Blues lead. That’s when the debris rained down on the ice.
At 13:32 Jake DeBrusk finally solved Binnington when he slapped the puck by him from the left circle, cutting the deficit to one. The Bruins threw everything they had at Binnington but he turned aside 12 of their 13 third period shots. The Bruins outshot the Blues 39-21 for the game.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was obviously not happy with the officiating tonight. “What was being said on the bench was that you missed an F’ing call,” said Cassidy when asked what was said on the bench after the missed call on Acciari. “After that we had to settle down and play. Listen we thought we got screwed but you got to keep playing and we did. We scored the next goal and gave ourselves a chance to win.”
For his part, Blues coach Craig Berube wasn’t buying any of the officiating talk. “I don’t agree with it, but that doesn’t matter,” said Berube. “I’m not here to judge the officials and calls that could have been or couldn’t have been. They go both ways. I mean, there’s calls the other way that could have been called and they weren’t, so I don’t know what to say about that. I really don’t want to say anything about it.”
Despite the officiating talk Jordan Binnington was the story. “He was excellent all game and did a great job in the first for sure,” said Berube of his rookie goalie. “They came hard, Boston. You know we were tested in the first for sure, and Binner [Binnington] stood tall. Big reason why we won the game.”
The series shifts back to St. Louis for Sunday night’s game six. The Blues have a chance to lift the Stanley Cup in their building, in front of their fans. Can Boston respond and force a game seven back in Boston next Wednesday? Tune in to NBC for the 8:23 pm Eastern puck drop.