The Boston Bruins showed a bit of rust in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. That was to be expected after having ten days off. In the first period they ended with only eight shots on goal and down 1-0. It didn’t take long to shake that rust off, however. After going down 2-0 early in the second period the Bruins finally found life. Goals from defensemen Connor Clifton and Charlie McAvoy tied the game at 2, and the St. Louis Blues wouldn’t score again. Meanwhile, Sean Kuraly would score the go-ahead goal and Brad Marchand sealed the game with an empty netter. In the last two periods the Bruins out-shot the Blues 30-12 and beat them 4-2 to take a 1-0 series lead.

That Old Feeling

In a rematch of the Stanley Cup Finals from 1970 it’s appropriate that this game had a feeling of ‘70s hockey. It was physical and the referees let the boys play. Also appropriate is the Bruins felt like their brutally physical ‘70s counterparts. Just as they were nicknamed in that era, last night the Big Bad Bruins returned. At one point Brad Marchand made a play on goal and Blues goalie Jordan Binnington hit Marchand with his stick, losing it in the play. After the play was blown dead, Marchand skated past Binnington, giving him a shoulder bump along the way. That was one of the friendlier interactions of the night.

Changing Momentum

Photo by Bob DeChiara

The key moment in the game came from defenseman Torey Krug. While in the Bruins defensive zone, in front of Tuukka Rask in net, Krug and Blues forward David Perron got into a wrestling match. It started with a couple of hacks of the sticks, then Perron began shoving Krug from behind several times while Krug stood his ground. Perron fell on top of Krug and pushed his head down once before trying to get back to his feet, pulling Krug’s head back twice and yanking his helmet off. Krug, not backing down, held Perron’s right leg, causing both of them to fall down again. Perron then successfully got back to his skates, straddled over Krug, and pushed his head back down, before skating after the puck, now in the Blues defensive zone.

Torey Krug was clearly angry. He got to his skates, flew up the ice, and with no helmet he ran full-speed into rookie forward Robert Thomas, knocking both of them down. No penalty was called on any of it. The wrestling match was questionable, but Krug’s hit on Thomas was legal. Thomas had the puck, the hit was shoulder to shoulder, and while Krug’s skates did come off the ice it wasn’t until after the contact. The Big Bad Bruins, led by Torey Krug of all people, were back in force in Game 1.

David Backes perfectly summed it up after the game. “That gave me goosebumps. He doesn’t have a helmet on but he goes right up the ice and lays a big hit. He thinks he’s playing thirty, forty years ago.”

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