Brayden Schenn hasn’t exactly been lighting the lamp in these playoffs. He has just seven points in 19 games, including just two goals.
Of course, one of his two goals was the series-winner against the San Jose Sharks and that’s definitely worth something. After all, it was Schenn’s goal that put the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1970.
That proverbial feather in his cap was more like a burden off his back, however, and the Saskatoon lad’s celebration after the fact proved it.
Against the Boston Bruins, Schenn will be up for it again and he’ll have to modify his approach. Lots of players go through a process of adjustment in the playoffs, especially when the goals aren’t coming.
The first round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings is ready to make an impact any way he can. He’s been with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz since Game Five against the Winnipeg Jets and that doesn’t show many signs of stopping, especially since his linemates have accounted for 20 of the Blues’ goals thus far.
In light of that, Schenn’s two goals may seem paltry but his 55 hits start to lay the groundwork for what’s really going on.
“We’re getting good matchups,” Schenn said. “Obviously you’re counted on to score, but at the same time, you’re counted on to defend.”
That defence has been a big part of St. Louis’ attack and Schenn’s ability to turn things around and draw tough assignments has been par for the course. He and Tarasenko may be minus players overall, but that has a lot to do with those aforementioned matchups. Against Boston, that means playing shutdown against Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand.
The last name of that list could draw the most attention, but if Schenn and Co. can keep cool and stay out of the booth then they may be able to mitigate what the Bruins’ top unit brings to the table. It’s not an easy draw by an extent.
“It doesn’t get any easier against [the Bergeron line],” Schenn said. “It’s a top-end line in our league. They play well together. They’re dynamic off the rush, they’re good in their own end.”
Finding the little matchups and little details could be the key to this series and the Blues will have to use players like Schenn accordingly, which means adjusting to new roles and new responsibilities on the fly. If that means finding another angle or forcing another point of view, so be it.
(Photo credit: FOX Sports)