Here are Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the Bruins' 2-1 loss to the Blues in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden Thursday night.
GOLD STAR: Ryan O’Reilly has really stepped up for the Blues in the last couple of games with St. Louis in need of secondary scoring. He provided the early goal for the Blues in the second period after scoring a pair in Game 4 in St. Louis, and factored into both goals for the Blues in an outstanding all-around performance. O’Reilly finished with a goal, two points and a plus-2 in 19:19 of ice time, four shot attempts, three takeaways and three blocked shots along with a dominant 19-of-28 in the face-off circle in a Bergeron-esque performance. O’Reilly has done a great shutting down the Krejci line throughout this Cup Final series and he worked him over on the face-offs. If the Blues do indeed end up winning the Cup then O’Reilly’s emergence in the middle games of the series will be a big reason behind it.
BLACK EYE: Kelly Sutherland and Steve Kozari were brutal in this Game 5, and Sutherland could have the blown call of the series after missing an obvious Tyler Bozak trip on Noel Acciari that directly led to the game-winning goal for the Blues. Bozak essentially kicked Acciari’s legs out from under him causing a turnover, and then even stopped playing and seemed ready to head to the penalty box until he saw that neither of the referees had their arm raised. It wasn’t just there, though. They also missed Alex Pietrangelo hanging onto Torey Krug for dear life on a play that led to another scoring chance that David Krejci blocked at the end of the second period. And they missed an Ivan Barbashev headshot on Marcus Johansson in the opening few moments of the game that set the tone for how things were going to be called. In a Stanley Cup playoff season where one of the biggest talking points will be blown calls by the officials, Game 5 is unfortunately all too appropriate.
TURNING POINT: While everybody is going to be talking about the non-call on the tripping of Acciari, and rightfully so, it’s also about a first period where the Bruins outshot the Blues by a 17-8 margin and couldn’t get anything past Jordan Binnington. He made a nice save on Patrice Bergeron in the slot during a first period Bruins power play, and held strong on a second-period play where David Pastrnak was trying to stuff the puck in over the goal line. It felt like the B’s would come to rue the chances they couldn’t capitalize on in the first period if they ended up losing the game, and that’s exactly what happened in a game where playing front-runners with a lead really could have helped them quite a bit. Some of the credit goes to Binnington, but it’s also on the B’s to find a way to get the puck through the St. Louis defense and into the net.
HONORABLE MENTION: Zdeno Chara wasn’t shying away from contact, was killing penalties with his usual ferocity and looked perfectly fine jumping back into the fray with the broken jaw. The Bruins fans gave him a massive ovation in the starting lineups and there were “Chara” chants breaking out during the first period. He finished with two shots on net four hits, a takeaway and three blocked shot in 16:42 of ice time. He looked like he maybe wasn’t seeing the puck cleanly while handling it and he certainly seemed to be protecting himself at times during contact, but he also was a pretty good version of himself despite playing with a broken jaw. And Chara certainly provided a lift for his teammates by playing through what must have been excruciating pain. So a tip of the cap to another feat of strength performed by the B’s captain.
BY THE NUMBERS: 0-for-3 – the Bruins had their chances on the power play, but couldn’t get anything past Jordan Binnington and managed only five shots on net through six minutes of power play time.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Yes.” –Torey Krug, when asked if he thinks that the Stanley Cup Final has been officiated differently since Blues head coach Craig Berube complained between Game 3 and Game 4 about the penalties called on St. Louis.
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