The Bruins took Game Six from the Blues by a count of 5-1 to force a winner take all Game Seven. That means it’ll be two teams fighting tooth and nail for the Stanley Cup in Boston on Wednesday night.
On a disappointing night for the Blues, here was the best thing about Game Six. With it being in championship starved St. Louis, the Blues rolled out Bob Plager, Brett Hull and Bernie Federko to pump up the crowd. As usual, Hull was in a wild and crazy mood. Take a look.
Taking the mic from Plager, he yelled “Let’s Go Blues,” before he had it. Then went over to all-time Blues great Federko and screamed, “Bernie Federko. The greatest of all time! Let’s Go Blues!!!”
It really was hilarious. Hull must be a lot of fun to be around. I can’t imagine what he must’ve been like during road trips as a player.
As for the game, it didn’t go as planned. There was no Stanley Cup celebration. Boston guaranteed that by outplaying St. Louis in net and on the scoreboard.
Tuukka Rask was outstanding making 28 saves including a few critical ones in the first period following Brad Marchand converting a five-on-three power play. Rask stood tall in the second when the Blues applied pressure on the power play. But they couldn’t beat Rask, who got a bit of help from the post and Charlie McAvoy to prevent Alex Pietrangelo from tying it.
The backbreaker was scored by defensive defenseman Brandon Carlo, whose point shot took a weird deflection and dipped under Jordan Binnington for a 2-0 Bruins lead. Inserted by coach Bruce Cassidy, little known speedy forward Karson Kuhlman delivered a knockout blow with a nice snipe off a David Krejci pass. It was Krejci’s first point of the series.
The only St. Louis shot that beat Rask almost didn’t. He nearly made an unbelievable save on Ryan O’Reilly. But video review confirmed that the entire puck crossed the line despite Rask getting his pad on it. It was O’Reilly’s third straight game with a goal. He has seven points in the series and is the Blues favorite for the Conn Smythe if they can win on the road.
Some great hustle from Jake Debrusk allowed Marchand to set up David Pastrnak for the put away. Zdeno Chara scored an empty netter with his full cage mask protecting his broken jaw. He played over 22 minutes. It’s amazing.
The bottom line is the Bruins were better where it mattered. They got clutch goaltending from leading Conn Smythe candidate Rask. Their best players showed up. Patrice Bergeron freed up a loose puck to allow Pastrnak to set up Marchand for the game’s first goal.
Debrusk made a good play along the boards to allow for Carlo to score. He was instrumental in the win recording two assists and delivering two critical blocks without a stick on a penalty kill. Both Marchand and Pastrnak had their best games of the series with each scoring a goal and assist. Krejci was much more effective throughout, intercepting a Pietrangelo pass in the neutral zone to feed Kuhlman for his goal.
St. Louis wasn’t as sharp throughout. Their forecheck was good at moments, but they couldn’t beat Rask. Boston did a better job defending and used their back check to break up plays and counter. They played with more urgency which you’d expect in an elimination game.
Now, it’s do or die. Someone will win the Cup. The other will leave the ice in tears. It’ll be emotional.
The Blues have proven they are more than capable of winning on the road. They’re 2-1 at TD Garden in the series. They’ll have to make it 3-1 to celebrate and play, “Gloria.”
Road teams have won the Cup in Game Seven twice over the decade. The ’08-09 Penguins did it against the Red Wings thanks to a last second Marc-Andre Fleury save on Nicklas Lidstrom.
Ironically, the ’10-11 Bruins also did it by shutting out the Canucks 4-0 to win their first Cup since 1972. That championship team went a perfect 4-0 when facing elimination. The current ’18-19 Bruins improved to 3-0 when facing elimination last night. They avoided elimination in the first round by defeating the Maple Leafs in Game Six and Game Seven.
Either they’ll do it again and repeat history or the Blues will finally deliver a Stanley Cup to St. Louis. We’ll see what happens.