R. Aaron Houde | June 3rd, 2019
It’s been a hard fought battle thus far en route to Lord Stanley’s Cup, and both the St. Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins are not going quietly into the night. The Blues have once again evened the series at two games apiece with their recent victory at Enterprise Center.
Ryan O’Reilly of the Blues opened the scoring just 43 seconds into the first period as he put a wrap-around goal past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. Charlie Coyle went on to tie the game on a fortuitous rebound with 6:46 left in the first period as a result of strong fore-checking and determination. Vladimir Tarasenko put the Blues back up by one with a strong rebound wrist shot from between the hash marks late in the first period.
At 14:19 in the second, Brandon Carlo ripped a rebound past sprawling Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, tying the game on a shorthanded goal, the first playoff goal of his career. O’Reilly broke the 2-2 tie when he scored his second of the night at 10:38 in the third off a strong shot by Alex Pietrangelo from the top of the circle, and Brayden Schenn tallied his fourth goal of the playoffs when he netted an empty net goal from just outside the Bruins blue line at 18:31 of the third period.
Binnington finished the night with a 0.913 save percent average, stopping 21 of 23 shots, adding to the impressive year that he has had thus far.
Rebound control and defensive presence in front of the net was the main contributing factor to the Bruins loss in game four. O’Reilly was able to capitalize twice on the shot after, and Tarasenko netted the go-ahead off another rebound. Rask, with an impressive 0.919 Save Percentage, was able to keep the Bruins alive for a majority of the game, but his rebound control, combined with lackluster defensive play in front of the cage, allowed the Blues to take the proverbial trash and stuff it home. If the Bruins expect to push this series to the limit, they need to tighten up their defensive zone play and show more support to their netminder.
Player of the Game
O’Reilly, scoring 2 goals on 5 shots, showed how charging the net and picking up the loose change can prove to be a game-changer in the do or die moments. His ability to read the play, combined with his faceoff determination, proved to be vital in the Blues victory in Game 4.
Keys for Game 5
If the Bruins want to keep their hopes of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup alive, they need to step up their game in their Defensive Zone. The Blues were hungry in Game 4, and their devotion to push this series to the limit, combined with their ability to put their past defeats behind them, was on full display. While neither team has had an easy ride in the playoffs thus far, the eventual winner in this Staley Cup Final may come down to grit. The Bruins have fought from behind versus the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2019 Playoff Run, showing they know what it’s like to fight from behind. They have the depth, experience, and coming off a sweep against the Carolina Hurricanes, have the rest to go the distance if necessary.
The Blues, on the other hand, have only had to fight from behind once during their run to the finals this year. Having a rookie goaltender and minimal experience, they are the underdogs in this year’s Finals. While that may seem like a disadvantage, it may prove to be in their favor; being a hunger to prove their worth.
Game 5 will be on 6 JUN 19 at 8:00 EST in TD Garden.
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