Boston can't take back what happened in last season's championship
series, were able to take some anger out on team that took heir dream
BOSTON -- Yeah right. It was just another game.
OK Boston Bruins. Keep telling yourself that.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
David Pastrnak (left) and the Boston Bruins gained a level of retribution on
Alex Pietrangelo (right) and the Blues Saturday night in a 3-0 win.
Keep telling yourself that you're still not fretting over losing the Stanley Cup Final to the Blues in June. It was four and a half months ago, so its still fresh in everyone's minds. Saturday night was just a regular-season game, but let's face it, the Bruins were going to send a stern message: we're angry.
And it's understandable. I'd be angry too. Months of hard work to come up a bridesmaid is the worst feeling.
So the Bruins took out a measure of frustration with a 3-0 win on Saturday night at TD Garden.
So for one night, the Bruins (7-1-2) exacted some revenge, but a two-point night can never take away that empty feeling of watching the visiting team celebrate on your ice. So the Blues (5-3-3) will take this trade-off and go into Detroit for a late Sunday afternoon game finally putting the finishing touches on last season to rest.
No loss is a good loss. But playing without one of their top scorers in Vladimir Tarasenko, who missed the game and will not play against the Red Wings because of an upper-body injury, made this a tall task.
It started with a crunching check by Bruins captain Zdeno Chara on Oskar Sundqvist near the Blues' bench, and that may have been for payback for Sundqvist's hit on Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk in Game 2 of the Cup Final that resulted in Sundqvist getting suspended for Game 3 and Grzelcyk being concussed and out of the series until Game 7.
"We were ready for it too," Sundqvist said. "I feel like we kind of got off to a tough start there with their first power-play goal. I think we handled their pressure pretty good there in the first. As usual, 'Binner' came up with some big saves too to keep us in it. We definitely need to be better."
Bruins players kept saying it was behind them, that the Cup Final is in the past and that this was just another game.
OK, and there's beautiful beachfront property in Central Missouri up for sale for any one of the Bruins players looking for a summer getaway.
They wanted this one. They wanted it bad.
No, it won't erase last summer's memory or suddenly bring them the Cup, but there goes a little bit of retribution, some closure, so to speak.
"You expect that going through a playoff series, whoever you're playing in the playoffs and you're playing them a lot," Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz said. "It's aggressive, you get a little 1-on-1 matchups when you know you're against them every night. It usually carries over to the next season."
The Blues expected tight-checking, they expected 17,193 Garden fans to give them the proper reception when they first took the ice and they expected Boston to add some extra emotion to this game, a little more so than your average regular-season game.
"Exactly that," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "They got that power-play goal and then they ended up getting another one. We had looks, we didn't capitalize on them. It just wasn't many looks either way. It was tight hockey all around."
The Blues played their first game without Vladimir Tarasenko, whose upper-body injury has him shelved at least for two games, including Sunday's game at Detroit.
"'Sunny' played there most of the game," Berube said of Sundqvist. "They had some opportunities. I thought they were fine.
"It was a tight-checking game. We got down 2-0 in the third and I started moving guys around in the third looking for some offense."
David Pastrnak, Anders Bjork and Brandon Carlo (empty-netter) tallied goals for the Bruins, who were outshot 26-24 by the Blues, who seemed to play a decent road game but not enough scoring opportunities on Tuukka Rask.
"It just wasn't consistent enough," Schwartz said. "A little bit on the outside too much. Tuukka saw a little bit too many pucks, but had some chances. The power play, we've got to try and execute on getting more chances. Just a little bit too much on the outside and consistency of our aggressive play wasn't there.
"Not our typical game. Some turnovers and just not filling lanes and coming together and coming with speed and supporting each other enough. We couldn't get on the forecheck and create turnovers because we didn't have enough speed and not enough support."
And not converting on the power play, four of them to be exact, after the Blues were 3-for-4 in a 5-2 win Thursday over Los Angeles, proved to be fatal. The Blues had one midway through the second period where they owned zone time, nearly the entire two minutes but couldn't get enough pucks to the net.
"It was a long one," defenseman Justin Faulk said. "We probably had it in the zone there for about a minute, 50. It's going to happen like that. You take the momentum.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Justin Faulk (right) and the Blues were shut out for the first time this season
by David Pastrnak (88) and the Boston Bruins Saturday night at TD Garden.
"I think there's good that can come from having chances and keeping zone time and not breaking the puck out every time. Even if you don't score, you can kind of build off that and try and get a game. Obviously we were in a position where it would have been nice to score and kind of get one back there. That's just something that we need to be better at, too."
The Blues won't see the Bruins again until April 2, the final home game of the season. By then, winning the Cup will be a distant memory, albeit a good one, but by then, everyone will be in playoff mode and ready to take a crack at the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.