It’s the final round of the playoffs, and the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues continue with game 5. Tonight, on NBC.
LET’S GO BRUINS!
There is another Stanley Cup Final game today!
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 9, 2019
The Bruins started off a little slowly in game one. They missed a lot of passes, spent a little too much time moving the puck east-west instead of north-south, and didn’t play a particularly physical game. They fell behind 0-2 including a bad gaffe by David Pastrnak.
However, after that, the Bruins remembered “hey, we’re faster and deeper than these guys!”, drawing a couple of penalties, & stopping the Blues from having any shots on goal for nearly 7 minutes. Sean Kuraly would pot the go-ahead goal, and Brad Marchand would toss in an empty-net dagger. Bruins would win 4-2.
In game 2, the Blues battled back, putting pucks where Bruins wouldn’t get to them, and making more hits. They flipped the script, keeping the Bruins from taking shots for much of the game, and hanging on for a 3-2 overtime win. During the game Blues 4th-liner Oskar Sundqvist would make a dumb-ass hit that would cause
Matt Grzelcyk to leave the game for the hospital. Sundqvist got a 2 minute minor in game (injury only adds 2 minutes for stick fouls) but was suspended for a game by Dept of Player Safety. Grizz is out with a concussion.
In game 3, the Bruins decided that they were in this for real, but Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington did not come to the same conclusion. The Bruins would score 4 goals on their 4 power plays (all from the first PP unit), and chase Binnington from net. Final score: Bruins 7 Blues 2. Defenseman Torey Krug would score 4 points in the game (1G 3A, all on the power play), putting him in elite company for a D-man in a Stanley Cup Final game
— #StanleyCup on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) June 2, 2019
In game 4, the Blues came out flying, clearly having something to prove at home. The Bruins would not survive the opening rush, giving up a goal 43 seconds into the game. The Bruins would be chasing the score for most of the game.
Blues coach Craig Berube had complained obout the officiating after the last game, even though his team had gotten more time on the man advantage, and only one of the penalties was questionable (really his problem was that the Bruins had much better spacial teams). The refs responded by swallowing their whistles in game 4, calling no penalties for the first 25 minutes of play. Since the Bruins top-6 have not been scoring at 5-on-5, this was advantage for the Blues. Though in that first penalty kill, Brandon Carlo scored a shorthanded goal, tying the game at 2-2. The Bruins would not take advantage of the opportunity, and lost the game 4-2.
The Blues dominated in puck posession, with 38-23 shots and 44 hits to the Bruins 41.
More troubling is that Zdeno Chara had his face rearranged by a deflected puck.
Zdeno Chara takes a deflected shot to the face pic.twitter.com/Lp5lpKm7JY
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) June 4, 2019
He would return to the bench in the 3rd period wearing a full face sheild, but would not return to the ice. He is unlikely to play tonight.
So the Bruins and Blues are now tied 2 games to 2 in the series.
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) June 4, 2019
What will be the lineup tonight?
Looking a little tired. The Bruins are down by some guys.
Zdeno Chara is rumored to have a broken jaw.
Matt Grzelcyk has been out with a concussion from the Oscar Sundqvist hit in game 2. He missed games 3 & 4 and has been skating & will be reevaluated prior to game 5. The older injuries are still out there – Chris Wagner has been out since late in game 3 of the Hurricanes series with a forearm injury. Kevan Miller (remember him?) is still out of the lineup after suffering a setback during the Canes series to his never-ending knee injury.
While Urho Vaakanainen has been sighted at practices, and some media folks are talking about a 7-D lineup, that seems pretty unlikely. David Backes would be the forward to sit out in that case.
We should assume
that Chara is out, John Moore will slot up to Chara’s spot, and Steven Kampfer will join Clifton in the 3rd pairing Chara is a madman who will play with a broken jaw in a full face shield.
Tuukka Rask will be in goal.
|Bruins Forward Lines|
|Bruins Defensive pairs|
|#40 Tuukka Rask||(#41 Jaroslav Halak)|
The St. Louis Blues are the opponent for this Stanley Cup Final. You may remember them from their previous Stanley Cup Final appearances in… (looks up on teh intarwebz) 1968, 1969 & 1970. Those appearances did not go as well as they might have hoped, with the Blues losing 0-4 in three consecutive postseasons.
However, this team is not those teams, and the Bruins team they face is different from the 1970 Bruins. One advantage for this Bruins team should be playoff final experience – none of the Blues have played in the finals, while much of the Bruins leadership has. But the Blues do have plenty of other playoff experience, having made the playoffs for 4 of the last 5 seasons.
The Blues have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL since the new year, firing head coach Mike Yeo and bouncing from the bottom of their division to 2nd in the Central and winning 3 rounds of playoff games. They came into the series rather healthy, with only D-man Vince Dunn on the injury lists, after eating a biscuit in the Sharks series. Dunn is expected to return tonight, displacing Bortuzzo, in spite of the fact that there are still some wires in his mouth. Robby Fabbri was pulled in game 1 in favor of rookie Robert Thomas — the recipient of a colorful Torey Krug check. Thomas is now out, though apparently not due to that hit. Fabbri reappeared but will probably be pulled in favor of Zach Sanford, with a probable swap with Sammy Blais. Oscar Sundqvist – who got himself suspended for game 3 – should return for game 4. This reconstitutes their 4th line which has served the Blues well during the playoffs.
Their most notable performer has been their former backup goaltender Jordan Binnington, who has put up a respectable GAA of 2.37 and save % of .914., but much higher numbers in the games leading to the Final. He’s actually been off & on, alternating between poor performances and very good performances. They’ve also been celebrated for their depth, generating points up and down their lineup. Their top playoff scorers are Jaden Schwartz, Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko and David Perron with 17, 14, 13 & 13 postseason points respectively, and D-man Alex Petrangelo, who’s been the master of assists with 11.
(h/t Louie Korac at NHL.com)
#17 Jaden Schwartz — #10 Brayden Schenn — #91 Vladimir Tarasenko
#12 Zach Sanford — #90 Ryan O’Reilly — #57 David Perron
#7 Patrick Maroon — #21 Tyler Bozak — #9 Sammy Blais
#49 Ivan Barbashev — #70 Oskar Sundqvist — #20 Alex Steen
#6 Joel Edmundson — #27 Alex Pietrangelo
#19 Jay Bouwmeester — #55 Colton Parayko
#29 Vince Dunn — #4 Carl Gunnarsson
#50 Jordan Binnington
(#34 Jake Allen)
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 6, 2019
LET’S GO BRUINS!