The Boston Bruins had their backs against the wall going into Enterprise Stadium in St. Louis on Sunday night. The Stanley Cup was in the building and the Blues were looking to hoist it in front of their home crowd. Word got out that the Blues already had a restaurant rented to celebrate their victory and a St. Louis newspaper had leaked an image online congratulating the Blues on their Stanley Cup win. Boston had an uphill battle to climb and they were up to the task.
In the locker room before the game, Patrice Bergeron gave a rousing speech to fire up the boys in black and gold. Jake DeBrusk spoke about it afterward. “He’s a legend. He said some words that I don’t know if he necessarily wants me to repeat. They weren’t bad words. It was just about what we all dream about doing. Everyone that grows up playing hockey dreams of being in this moment. It was something along those lines and to see him set the tone that way wanted us all to run through a wall.”
If the St. Louis Blues defense was the proverbial wall, the Bruins certainly ran through it. In the first period they had a 5-3 power play and capitalized almost immediately with a goal by Brad Marchand. After holding a 1-0 lead through two periods, the Bruins opened the floodgates in the third. Two and a half minutes into the period Brandon Carlo scored, and halfway through the period Karson Kuhlman scored his first career postseason goal, putting the Bruins up 3-0.
With eight minutes left in the game, Blues Center Ryan O’Reilly scored in a bizarre incident. Tukka Rask stopped the puck with his right leg pad, kicked it back out and play continued. During the next stoppage in play word had come down from Toronto to review the shot attempt. Upon review it was determined that the puck had completely cleared the line, making it a good goal. St. Louis was on the board and had life with the score now 3-1.
Closing Out Strong
That was the only goal they would score. With six minutes remaining, Brad Marchand, in front of the net, sent a backward pass to David Pastrnak. Pastrnak faked a shot, baiting goalie Jordan Binnington, who laid out to make a stop. The puck was shot top shelf and went in easily. Finally, with just under three minutes left, Zdeno Chara scored with an unassisted slap shot, making the final score 5-1. After the game, Brad Marchand said, “We’re fighting for our lives obviously. When you play desperate, I think you see everyone’s best game.”
The Bruins are now 3-0 when facing elimination this post season and Tuukka Rask is a major part of that. His goals allowed average is 1.34, and he has a .953 save percentage in elimination games. Boston will host Game 7 on Wednesday night. The Cup will be at TD Garden and somebody will be hoisting it in victory. Both teams will be desperate. With Rask in net and the home crowd fired up and participating, this Boston Bruins team could very well pull the victory. They’ll need everyone ready to run through a wall to do so.