With Game One of the Stanley Cup Final in the books, the Boston Bruins find themselves ahead by a game with a 4-2 victory Monday night. And the St. Louis Blues find themselves with a fair estimate of the opposition.
We’ve been talking a lot about the depth of the Bruins and that came through in Game One.
Sean Kuraly was, for all intents and purposes, the man. The fourth line pivot scored Boston’s third marker and set up the first one with an assist to Connor Clifton. Kuraly was everywhere he needed to be and proved his mettle against tough assignments. He and linemates Joakim Nordstrom and Noel Acciari took over after St. Louis managed to net an early lead Monday.
And Kuraly, Nordstrom and Acciari held it down. Big time.
Bruce Cassidy and the Bruins sent the fourth line against Brayden Schenn, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz and the intent was to play a physical brand of hockey that stopped giving the Blues the breaks. The result was offensive chances, goals and puck luck.
“Just play them hard and play them honest and make them earn every inch,” said Kuraly. “If they beat us with their skill, which will definitely happen at times, then so be it, but we’re not going to let them beat us with something silly that was a mistake by us.”
Speaking of mistakes, the Blues made some serious ones by landing in the penalty box. We already discussed how St. Louis would do this to their detriment and Game One saw plenty of bad looks. The Blues took four penalties in the first two periods, including a high-sticking call in the offensive zone, and they can’t keep that up.
Boston exacted the opportunity with a power play goal to tie the game. And the Blues lost their measure, which put them out of the contest. They were outshot 18-3 in the second period and 30-12 in the final two periods, sure proof of their lack of momentum.
Going forward, the Blues will have to press what did work.
That starts with Schenn, who we discussed as adapting to another role. In Game One, he opened the scoring. He has a point in three straight games and seems to be finding the other part of his game. If he gets some puck support and his line can start taking Kuraly and Co. seriously, he may pile up more offence.
And there was momentum in the first period, before the penalty trouble began at least. The Blues snuck off eight shots in the opening frame and jumped to an early lead in large part because they outpaced the Bruins. It’s not easy to keep up that kind of tempo, but they’re going to have to if they want to win this thing.
(Photo credit: NHL.com)