It’s the final game of the final round of the playoffs, and the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues continue with game 7. Tonight, on NBC.
LET’S GO BRUINS!
The FINAL Stanley Cup Final game IS 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), one of 5 NHL defensemen to achieve that feat in a Stanley Cup Final game
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 shield, but would not return to the ice.
In game 5, a wounded Zdeno Chara made his way into the lineup, wearing a better-fitting face shield and getting a standing ovation from the home crowd. The Bruins would have the advantage in both shots on goal and hits, but were mostly kept to the outside in the offensive zone, not getting to rebounds, and rarely establishing substantial time in the offensive zone. The Blues would score first, snatching the puck in the neutral zone in front of their bench while performing a line change – and playing chicken with a too-many-men situation. And later, would score on what looked like it would be a Bruins break-out until Noel Acciari would be tripped with this particularly obvious slew-footing action by Tyler Bozak.
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) June 7, 2019
Later in the period, Jake DeBrusk would score, closing the gap to one goal, but the Bruins would never tie it back up, falling by a score of 1-2
Also in this game were a couple of uncalled head shots against Bruin players. One on Marcus Johansson caught the attention of the Department of Player Safety – Ivan Barbashev was suspended for one game for an Illegal Check to the Head.
In game 6, the Bruins struck back – coming to an early 1-0 lead on a fortunate 5-on-3 power play. This would be their only power-play of the game. They would withstand 4 Blues power plays, and in the 3rd period, increase the lead. The Blues would be held off the scoreboard until after the halfway point in the 3rd period, via some nice shot-blocking and excellent goaltending play by Tuukka Rask. Even the one goal was only awarded after review from the Hockey Ops center in Toronto, since Tuukka actually kicked the puck out immediately.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 10, 2019
The Bruins would win 5-1, including late goals by Karson Kuhlman and an empty-netter by the captain Zdeno Chara.
So the Bruins are tied 3 games to 3 in the series.
There will be no more games after tonight. This will be the final game of the playoffs and will decide the winner of the Stanley Cup.
What will be the lineup tonight?
Looking a little tired. The Bruins are down by some guys.
Zdeno Chara has continued to skate, wearing the cage, and is presumed to be in the lineup again.
Matt Grzelcyk was cleared to play after suffering a concussion from the Oscar Sundqvist hit in game 2 – he would displace Connor Clifton in the lineup. Chris Wagner has been skating but is doubtful for tonight with a forearm injury.
Karson Kuhlman will be in the lineup again tonight, so expect 6 D-men with no David Backes.
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 returned in game 4, 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 was out for several games, though apparently not due to that hit. Thomas returned for game 6, in place of the suspended Ivan Barbashev. Barbashev will return tonight. Rob Bortuzzo was a troublemaker in game 6, but will be out tonight, expecting Dunn, Edmundson & Gunnarsson to be in.
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 staff 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
#4 Carl Gunnarsson — #27 Alex Pietrangelo
#19 Jay Bouwmeester — #55 Colton Parayko
#29 Vince Dunn — #6 Joel Edmundson
#50 Jordan Binnington
(#34 Jake Allen)
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 9, 2019
The celebrity banner captain is rumored to be Tim Thomas.
Just gotta believe. One more time. pic.twitter.com/ITlD4MOU1O
— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) June 12, 2019
LET’S GO BRUINS!