Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals didn’t go Boston’s way. After trading goals back and forth with St. Louis, the first period ended tied at 2. Despite goals from Charlie Coyle and Joakim Nordstrom, the Bruins attack soon fell flat. The second and third periods were defensive battles that resulted in no scores, forcing overtime. Just 3:51 into that overtime period with a delayed call against the Bruins, Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson scored to tie the series 1-1.
A Physical Game
The Blues played with a physical ferocity that the Bruins couldn’t keep up with. A hit by Blues center Oskar Sundqvist on Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk resulted in a two minute penalty and Grzelcyk leaving the game. He’s now in concussion protocol, will miss at least Game 3 and likely Game 4. Sundqvist was given a one-game suspension. Once again, goalie Tuukka Rask was outstanding, but in the second and third periods the Bruins seemed sluggish. Whether there’s still some rust or they were just tired from the physical play, the Bruins didn’t look like themselves. The first line of Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak was separated, moving Pasta to the second line and bumping up Danton Heinen. They never got into a rhythm and the team suffered for it.
“I know we haven’t played our best yet,” Center Charlie Coyle said after the game. “Our starts have been off for whatever reason. So we just have to look at some things and go over some things… We have to be on time in this league.”
Bringing the Battle to St. Louis
Game 3 will be an uphill battle. The Blues will be riding the momentum of their win and they’ll be feeding off the energy of the St. Louis home crowd. Boston will have to play their best game of the season. That said, in Game 2 the Bruins looked completely off their game and the Blues played their hearts out. Despite that, it still took an OT delayed call for the Blues to win.
The Bruins have everything they need to take Game 3. In Game 2 they couldn’t keep the puck in the zone, they gave up too many turnovers, and they couldn’t capitalize on power plays. They’ll need to be more productive on the power play, establish offensive zone time, and shoot more instead of attempting as many unnecessary passes that resulted in turnovers. This series is still early. There’s a lot of time left for the first line to get into their groove and lead the way.
Defenseman Torey Krug had this to say about that first, “Perfection Line”, “That’s kind of been the way the playoffs have gone for them, right? In every series, you give them enough time and enough reps against a certain matchup, they’re smart enough hockey players, they know what’s going to be open and they’ll find a way to break through.”
How To Win
It’s going to be a physical and punishing game. The Big Bad Bruins will need to be just that and dish it out just as much as they get it. The Blues think they found a chink in Boston’s armor and they’ll be on the attack. The Bruins will need to be just as physical, if not more so. Clean hits and staying out of the box will be key. Tuukka Rask will keep them in the game, the first and fourth lines (the best lines thus far) will need to step up and take the game away. Coach Bruce Cassidy said that in Matt Grzelcyk’s absence, defenseman John Moore will likely take his place. Moore could just be the fresh spark the Bruins need.