Despite looking sharp in game one, the Bruins came out flat and stumbled at home in game two as they lost in overtime. They were held shotless during the brief overtime session and never had more than nine shots in any period throughout the game. This comes after nearly doubling up the Blues in shots during game one. Now, they travel to St. Louis for two games with the series tied at one apiece.
How do the Bruins rebound and take back control of the series and home ice?
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Ian Glendon: This will be a common theme throughout this post but it is imperative that the Bruins top line starts playing like the best line in hockey. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak are a combined minus-7 through two games. The only goal was scored by Marchand into an empty net to close out game one. The Bruins fourth line has been doing the bulk of the heavy lifting and looks to have the most energy shift in and shift out. That is a nice advantage to have only if you are getting the expected production from your best players.
Not without blame is Jake DeBrusk whose own struggles have been overshadowed by that of the top three. However, if it is any consolation, the Bruins top line has been a late bloomer in each of the first three series so now that the series has shifted to St. Louis, it could give the line the spark it needs.
Ethan Nash: The main key for the Bruins heading into game three is to increase scoring production from their top two lines. Aside from an empty netter from Brad Marchand in game one, no one on either of the top two lines for the Bruins has scored a goal. That needs to change if the Bruins want to win game three. Another key for the Bruins is that they have to slow down the Blues’ first line of Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, and Vladimir Tarasenko. That line has combined for six points in the first two games of the series.
Chris Bugajsky: For the Boston Bruins, the one thing that they need in game three is for that top line to step up and put some goals on the board. In the first two games, the top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak have combined for one goal and a single assist. The lone goal of the trio was an empty net goal by Marchand to seal a game one victory.
This top line has led the Bruins offense all through the regular season and postseason. They are the driving force that leads the B’s to win hockey games. The rest of the team mustered up five goals in the first two games. The depth scoring is showing up for the Bruins which is exactly what you want at this point in the season. However, the top line for the Bruins is going to need to be the difference maker in game three if they want to regain the series lead.
Geoff Burnside: The Boston Bruins seem to be two teams combined in one. On one hand, you have an incredibly skilled offensive powerhouse, having finished the 2018-2019 regular season with a +45 goal differential, good for third in the league, and currently leading the playoffs with a differential of +25. Tuukka Rask’s outstanding play is a big factor there, of course, but any team that scores more than 250 goals in 82 games is certainly a force to be reckoned with. On the other hand, however, you have a team with a reputation of physical and (allegedly) dirty play. The Bruins finished the 2018-2019 campaign with a staggering 797 penalty minutes, good for second in the league.
The major key to success for Boston heading into game three will be to focus on their offensive talents and not let emotions drive an overly-physical game. In their dominant game one performance, Boston out-shot the Blues 38-20 while being out-hit 35-32. Heading in to game three in St. Louis, in front of a crowd that has been waiting 49 years to see their team compete for Lord Stanley’s Cup, it will be very easy for the Bruins to try and assert physical dominance – and avenge defenceman Matt Grzelcyk’s game two injury – early and often in game three. Letting their offense retaliate for them will be critical to Boston’s success as the series shifts to St. Louis.
Chris Mancuso: The key for game three for Boston is pretty simple, weather the storm. The St. Louis Blues are playing in their first Cup Final since 1970 and with the franchise never having won a Stanley Cup before you know they will be buzzing. In order to survive the storm, the Bruins will need to rely on their defense to move pucks quickly out of the zone. Once they went down to five defensemen last game the puck seemed to need 10 passes to get out of the zone. The B’s must get back to being able to make one pass to get out of the zone in order to protect Tuukka Rask and keep the Blues off the score sheet. John Moore or Steven Kampfer will likely replace injured blueliner Matt Grzelcyk. Surviving the opening 10-12 minutes of the game is crucial for Boston.