The St. Louis Blues have been embarrassed on dwelling ice in Recreation three of the Stanley Cup Remaining, shedding 7-2 to the Boston Bruins. Although there is no such thing as a excuse for a efficiency like that, particularly in such a momentous recreation, the group was considerably undermanned. They performed with out Robert Thomas and Vince Dunn, who have been injured, and Oskar Sundqvist, who obtained a one recreation suspension for his hit on Matt Grzelcyk.
Whereas Thomas stays sidelined, Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic and different St. Louis reporters are saying that the group may have Dunn again tonight. Together with the return of Sundqvist, whose loss was palpable, he might be an enormous swing in favor of the Blues, particularly on particular groups.
Vince Dunn and the Energy Play
Recreation three of the Western Convention Remaining was painful for the Blues in various methods. Whereas the hand go that led to the game-winning aim stole a lot of the headlines, it was the lack of Dunn that actually harm the group long run.
Blues defenseman Vince Dunn hasn’t performed since Recreation three of the Western Convention Remaining (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports activities)
Early within the recreation, Dunn took a puck off the jaw and collapsed in ache. He was helped off the ice, and it was clear that the harm was severe. He didn’t return to the sport, and was not seen once more within the collection.
By means of the primary three video games of the Stanley Cup Remaining, he was believed to be near returning, however Dunn wasn’t capable of make it again. That modifications Monday night time, when he’s anticipated to exchange Robert Bortuzzo within the lineup.
The Blues are hoping that his return will probably be felt in a giant means on the ability play, the place they’ve struggled all through the collection. They’ve one power-play aim in 10 alternatives, with that aim coming late within the blowout in Recreation three. In reality, the person benefit has been a wrestle for St. Louis all postseason. They’ve simply 13 targets in 72 alternatives, an 18.1 % success fee that ranks them 10th amongst all playoff groups and miles behind their opponents’ whopping 35.9 % mark.
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Dunn is a terrific puck transferring defenseman, and is anticipated to renew his function on the Blues’ second energy play unit. That, coupled with the motivation of enjoying in his first Stanley Cup Remaining recreation, might be a recipe for fulfillment for the Blues’ lackluster unit. In fact, that gained’t imply a lot if the group’s penalty kill is as unhealthy because it was in Recreation three.
Oskar Sundqvist and the Penalty Kill
As potent because the Bruins’ energy play is, the Blues had managed to maintain it pretty silent by way of the primary two video games of the collection. Once they misplaced Sundqvist, although, they misplaced the sting in that class. Boston scored 4 targets on 4 alternatives with the person benefit, needing solely 4 photographs to do it. It’s arduous to disclaim that Sundqvist performs a significant function on the penalty kill.
Blues heart Oskar Sundqvist (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports activities)
Sundqvist is likely one of the Blues’ most attention-grabbing tales this season. He entered the marketing campaign as one thing of an afterthought, earlier than hitting the shelf after a violent preseason hit from Tom Wilson (for which the latter was suspended 20 video games). He wouldn’t make his common season debut till Oct. 25.
When he returned, he appeared like a unique participant. Although he’d had simply 9 factors in 70 profession video games previous to this season, he posted 14 targets and 17 assists in 74 video games this season. The common enjoying time and the expanded function served him properly. Now, he is likely one of the Blues’ most invaluable secret weapons.
In Video games 1 and a couple of of the Remaining, Sundqvist logged over six minutes of time on the penalty kill, representing roughly 20 % of his whole time on ice in these video games. He is likely one of the group’s high penalty killers, and offers a substitute for Ryan O’Reilly in that function, giving the latter extra power for five-on-five and energy play scenario.
Sundqvist: “I’m not going to remark in regards to the suspension. I’m wanting ahead to tomorrow. It’s going to be enjoyable.” #stlblues— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) June 2, 2019It’s arduous to think about the penalty kill gained’t be higher with Sundqvist again within the lineup. He’s served his time for the hit on Grzelcyk. Now he’s again within the lineup, able to make an influence for the Blues.
A Should-Win Recreation four
There’s no query: the Blues can not afford to lose Recreation four. As tenacious as they’ve been all season, it’s robust to think about them successful three in a row and two in Boston in opposition to the powerhouse Bruins. They have to win one among their first two dwelling video games to have an opportunity. With Dunn and Sundqvist again within the lineup, they’re higher outfitted to just do that.