Your Boston Bruins took it out on the road to St. Louis tonight for a tilt against the Blues at The Enterprise Center. They needed extra hockey to get it done, but get it done they did as the B’s end the Blues undefeated streak with a 3-2 victory in overtime.
After being locked in quarantine for the last 5 days, your boy Brownie was thrilled to get out and actually enjoy a game. I will say: there’s nothing worse than being forced to watch the game on a subpar setup as you’re locked in a room. A room that’s not made for continuous habitation for 5 days. I had to get out. I missed you. Get vaccinated boys and girls. I implore you, get the jab.
If you need more proof that HC Bruce Cassidy reads my blogs, look no further than tonight’s lineup up front. The top line remained the same with Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk on Patrice Bergeron’s wings, but it was the 2nd line that saw my wish come true. With David Pastrnak still out (and Hampus Lindholm and Linus Ullmark), Butchie inserted good guy Curtis Lazar with Taylor Hall and Erik Haula on the 2nd line, which (as my faithful readers know) I’ve been hoping to see. I personally think Lazar brings more to the table than a 4th line energy guy, but with the other lines playing so well as of late, it was tough to slot him in anywhere else. The 3rd line was static with Charlie Coyle at the pivot with Craig Smith and St. Louis local boy Trent Frederic on the wings. On the 4th it was Tomas Nosek back in at center with Nick Foligno and Marc MacLaughlin riding shotgun. Out back it was Charlie McAvoy with Mike Reilly and Matt Grzyelcyk with Brandon Carlo. The 3rd pair was Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton.
In net was dark horse Calder candidate Jeremy Swayman opposing Ville Husso in net for St. Louis. One good thing about Husso securing the #1 slot, we don’t have to see that asshat Binnington out there for the Blues. St. Louis came into this game white hot, winning 9 in a row and going 11-0-1 in their last 12 games played. The Bruins took a different path to tonight’s game, losing 4 of their last 6 games.
The Blues came out with more jump as the Bruins seemed slow to the puck for most of the first period. An iffy call on McAvoy put the Blues on the PP and STL showed why their PP is ranked at the top of the league. The Bruins aggression on the PK cost them as Carlo made a bad decision to pressure high leaving Forbort down low in a 2:1 in the slot. Vladimir Tarasenko had the presence of mind to recognize the 2:1 and fed the puck to Pavel Buchnevich for the first goal of the game. That score held for the period as the Bruins were losing puck battles all over the ice and St. Louis dictated the pace.
To open the middle period, DeBrusk got the Bruins on the board when his attempted wrap rebounded directly back to him and he stashed it near side over Husso’s shoulder. DeBrusk has cooled off the last week, but this goal was a goal scorer’s goal. Cool as a cucumber standing on the slot, just tucked it under the bar. A beauty of play to open the period.
The Bruins dominated the 2nd period, making STL fight for every inch of ice and contesting every loose puck. Once DeBrusk scored, BOS seemed to dial in and got back to playing hockey like they had been up until this last week. Disciplined with the puck, good layers through the neutral zone and stepping up at their own blue line: playoff style hockey. After a monster shift by the Coyle line where their wall work and cycle game kept STL hemmed into their own zone, Hall put the Bruins ahead. Forbort let a shot go from the left point that made it on net through a sea of bodies and Hall tipped it down over Husso’s left leg. 2-1 good guys.
However, there was still time left in the period and I could just hear Homeboy Jack saying something about the “vulnerable minute” as the clock wound down in the period. Sure enough, with 2.4 seconds left in the middle stanza, Tarasenko threw a backhand on net from the blue line that somehow Robert Thomas reached back as he went through the slot and got a stick on it to deflect the puck past Swayman. All tied up heading into the 2nd intermission and it had to have been frustrating after dominating a period the way the Bruins had.
The 3rd period was more even in terms of puck possession and zone play. The neutral zone tightened up and the physicality ramped up. I will say this about STL, when they possess the puck in the offensive zone; it’s something to see. I won’t go as far as Dom Moore did on the ESPN+ feed to compare it to the Harlem Globetrotters, but it’s damn good.
In extra time, Butchie rolled out Coyle, DeBrusk and McAvoy to start it off. After wining the face (and some miscommunication that briefly stopped many hearts among the Black and Gold Faithful), the Bruins broke down ice with Coyle bringing the puck behind the STL net where he left it for DeBrusk coming the other way. DeBrusk sauced the puck to McAvoy who was busting down the slot and his wicked wrister beat Husso over the blocker for the OT-GWG. Chuckie Bright Lights secures the bag as the B’s get the extra point.
Play the music – Goalie Hug
- I thought Lazar looked good with Haula and Hall. I’m not saying he’s should replace Pastrnak, but he’s a viable option until Pasta is ready to come back.
- Swayman seems to have re-discovered his confidence. He was sharp tonight and his rebound control was noticeably better.
- McLaughlin doesn’t look out of place with the pace and skill of the NHL. For an undrafted rookie, I would say that’s the goal. The fact that he’s chipping in offensively is a bonus.
- Reilly had a tough night tonight. I would like to see him paired with Grzelcyk to see what it looks like, but the Bruins def need Lindholm back. I also thought Josh Brown may have dressed tonight with STL heavier style of play.
- ESPN camera angles are awful. Not only do they insist on using the high camera behind the net during a power play, multiple times the puck wasn’t even on screen as these camera guys kept losing the play. Brutal.
- I think Frederic is better served playing the way he was playing before his health bomb. Get back to the North/South game and the hits will come. When he’s running around chasing contact he’s less effective.
- Clearly the powers the be at ESPN told the commentators to push the face-off percentage thing. So dumb. I get it, Dom Moore is lifetime face-off percentage of 53.3% but I would have much rather heard him talk about what makes Bergeron and O’Reilly so good at the dot as opposed to him repeatedly saying “the offensive player has the advantage since he puts his stick down last”. This is not a complaint, as I think Moore brings an insight into the game that others don’t have, but I would have rather heard him being more anecdotal as opposed to stat driven commentary
- I still don’t like Perron. What a puke.