The unflappable lastly turned flappable, the Blues’ inexperience confirmed, they usually could not keep out of the field of their Sport 1 defeat to the Bruins. Can St. Louis bounce again?Brandon Carlo and Ryan O’Reilly|Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesBOSTON – No second had appeared too large for the St. Louis Blues all through the Stanley Cup playoffs. However that every one modified about 22 minutes into their first remaining look in 49 years.
It didn’t look like Sport 1 was going to play out that manner at TD Backyard. The Blues couldn’t have began off stronger, tilting the ice early within the first interval, utilizing their measurement benefit to muscle the Boston Bruins off pucks and coming away with a 1-Zero lead on a snipe from Brayden Schenn, who had as clear a have a look at goalie Tuukka Rask as a shooter can get. The beginning of the second interval introduced extra of the identical, with Schenn stealing an unsightly David Pastrnak giveaway and establishing Vladimir Tarasenko to place St. Louis up 2-Zero.
However rapidly, the brand-new stakes of Stanley Cup remaining hockey started to dwarf the less-experienced Blues. It began with the fast reply by the Bruins, 1:16 after the Tarasenko aim, with defenseman Connor Clifton getting physique place on Robert Bortuzzo earlier than a puck banked off Clifton’s skate previous Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington. The momentum continued with the Blues doing one thing they hadn’t finished all spring: dropping their cool. The Bruins baited them into post-whistle skirmishes, one thing coach Craig Berube, throughout Media Day Sunday, had praised his staff for avoiding within the first three rounds of the playoffs, once they averaged the fewest penalty minutes per sport of any staff. The Blues ended up taking 5 minor penalties Monday evening.
“5 penalties takes a whole lot of guys out of the sport and burns up a whole lot of power from different guys which can be killing on a regular basis,” Berube stated. “It’s an excessive amount of. We’ve bought to be higher there. We’ve bought to be extra disciplined. Calls are calls. That’s the best way it goes. We’re not gonna complain about ’em. We’ve simply bought to be higher.”
Even Binnington, the image of calm all through these playoffs, confirmed frustration, sneaking an elbow on rugged Bruins proper winger David Backes after Backes landed on his leg and took his time getting up.
“We’ve bought to be extra disciplined and composed,” Binnington stated. “Stuff’s gonna occur, and also you’ve bought to deal with it.”
By halfway via the second, the Blues already taken their fourth minor of the evening, and it was solely a matter of time earlier than the Bruins energy play, the NHL’s finest all through the post-season, punished St. Louis for a mistake. Charlie McAvoy beat Binnington to tie the sport, and the Blues have been fortunate to flee the second with a 2-2 tie, outshot 18-Three within the interval. Immediately, St. Louis had no forecheck.
“It’s robust to get on the forecheck whenever you’re not coming in collectively,” stated captain Alex Pietrangelo, explaining that the Blues wanted to remain bodily nearer to one another for puck-side help.
The Bruins, buoyed by a characteristically raucous residence crowd, forechecked relentlessly, and Sean Kuraly buried a feed from Noel Acciari to place them up Three-2 at 5:21 of the third. They didn’t look again, including an empty netter to seal a Four-2 victory. They have been equally bodily regardless of being the smaller staff, with even 5-foot-9, 186-pound Torey Krug delivering a thunderous hit on the Blues’ Robert Thomas. Binnington stated after the sport he noticed Krug coming from a distance and yelled to warn Thomas however bought drowned out by the group noise. Whether or not the hit was a cost or not, it added to the intimidation. The Blues merely appeared overwhelmed, outshot 38-20 for the sport regardless of an Eight-Eight ratio within the first interval. Rask entered Sport 1 with an NHL-best .942 save share for the playoffs, and the Blues didn’t take a look at him sufficient.
“He’s a world-class goaltender,” Schenn stated. “We’ve bought to have the ability to shoot extra pucks. We didn’t get sufficient site visitors round him, sufficient suggestions, screens. We didn’t make it very laborious on him.”
If St. Louis can discover a constructive going ahead, it’s that all the pieces about Sport 1 performed towards sort. The bigger pattern measurement, the opposite 19 video games the Blues have performed this post-season, painted a profile of a staff that did an incredible job suppressing its opponents’ photographs and grinding them down with a robust forecheck.
Then once more, these video games weren’t towards the Bruins. The house facet gained’t make issues straightforward for the Blues going ahead, and any hope of catching Boston napping after an 11-day layoff is out the window now. The Blues should earn each inch in Sport 2.
“They strain you. They arrive laborious. They’re a fast staff. They get on you. They’ve bought good sticks. They do a whole lot of good issues,” Berube stated. “We’ve bought to be higher. They’re gonna proceed to try this. That’s the best way they play. They’re defensive hockey staff, they usually do power you into dangerous conditions with the puck a whole lot of occasions. However we’ve bought to be higher than that.”
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Tags: boston bruins, nhl, st. louis blues, stanley cup playoffsConnect: Concerning the AuthorMatt LarkinMatt Larkin is a senior author at The Hockey Information and has been a part of the staff since 2011. He is your one-stop store for deep-dive participant interviews, predictions, statistics, fantasy participant rankings, participant security and hair suggestions. Catch him weekly as host of The Hockey Information Stay and The Hockey Information Podcast.