Facing elimination for the first time since round one against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the margin of error for the Boston Bruins is officially zero. If they still hope to hoist the Stanley Cup they must be perfect from here on out as they battle back from a 3-2 series deficit against the St. Louis Blues.
Experience Can Play a Factor
The last two times the Bruins have appeared in the Stanley Cup Final, they have been faced with a similar task. In 2011, they won game six at home and won game seven in Vancouver to win the Cup. In 2013, they lost in heartbreaking fashion in game six against the Chicago Blackhawks. Each time, the Bruins current veteran corps of Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Krejci were at the center of it all. And, it’s no coincidence, that they, along with Tuukka Rask, are the most important players heading into the final game(s) of the year.
However, the team shouldn’t go back that far to draw inspiration. All they have to do is look back just six weeks ago when they were faced with the same exact scenario against the Maple Leafs. The Bruins lost an ugly game at home in game five and were forced to win back-to-back games against the Leafs in order to advance. Including game six on the road.
Top Lines Must Produce
It’s no secret that the top six, which include the aforementioned forwards, as well as David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk, have struggled mightily in this series. In fact, aside from DeBrusk’s goal in game five, they have been held scoreless in 5-on-5 play this series. That lack of production is not only baffling but certainly will not translate in two wins over the next five days. That MUST change for the Bruins.
Officiating aside, here’s a crazy stat from this Bruins-Blues Stanley Cup…
Points at Even-Strength:
Brad Marchand: 0
Charlie McAvoy: 0
David Backes: 0
David Krejci: 0
David Pastrnak: 0
Patrice Bergeron: 0
— Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) June 7, 2019
Marcus Johansson was the Bruins best forward in game five and has been for much of the series. However, the Bruins are going to need more production from the top two lines or the Blues will likely close the series out on Sunday. Especially if Jordan Binnington has a game similar to the one he had in game five where he turned away 37 of the Bruins 38 shots.
Faceoff Success Pays Dividends
Heading into the postseason, both the Bruins and the Blues ranked in the top 10 in faceoff win percentage. It’s not hard to imagine when you have guys like Bergeron and Ryan O’Reilly on the ice. Throughout the series, the team that wins the faceoff battle has won the game. In game five, despite outshooting the Blues by 18, the Bruins were dominated at the faceoff dot. They lost nearly 60 percent of the draws. In game four, they won just 45 percent of the draws. The result? They lost the game 4-2. In games one and two, both victories, the Bruins won those battles. Most notably, they dominated the faceoff dot in game three in St. Louis and rolled to a 7-2 victory.