Leading up to last night’s crucial Game Four, former legendary St. Louis Blue Brett Hull had a message to the raucous environment in St. Louis.
It worked. It took Ryan O’Reilly only 43 seconds to score the game’s first goal. He would also notch the game-winner with less than 10 minutes left in regulation as the Blues doubled up the Bruins 4-2 to even the Stanley Cup.
Brayden Schenn added an empty netter to send the series back to Boston tied. Game Five is Thursday.
Watching how pumped up Hull was made me smile. Yeah. He was probably blitzed, but who cares. The Golden Brett energized the crowd and provided the same schtick wrestling legend Ric Flair did. He may as well have screamed, “Wooooooo!!!!!”
St. Louis used the physical style that won them Game Two. They rebounded from a 7-2 humiliation to make the Stanley Cup a best of three. The right players were involved throughout. O’Reilly started and finished it. Vladimir Tarasenko got his third of the series. Schenn sealed it after Tuukka Rask was pulled for an extra attacker. Alex Pietrangelo had the big primary assist when Rask couldn’t control his high riser that caused a rebound for O’Reilly to deposit.
Game Four was the best game so far. It was mostly even despite the Blues’ ferocious hitting. The teams combined for over 80 hits. Vince Dunn returned for the Blues and picked up an assist on O’Reilly’s wrap around.
The loss may have been costly for the Bruins. Zdeno Chara took a shot off his face and left the game in the second period. Even though he returned to the Boston bench with a full cage mask over his stitched face, he didn’t take a shift. It’s possible he suffered a broken jaw.
If the Bruins captain can’t return, that’s a big blow to their chances. Already without Matt Grzelcyk, Boston is using John Moore on the third pair. If Chara can’t go in Game Five, it could spell doom.
The St. Louis size and physicality is taking a toll. It definitely should make for an interesting storyline on Thursday.