Vladimir Tarasenko

Talking Points from the Bruins' Game 2 3-2 OT loss to the Blues

Talking Points from the Bruins' Game 2 3-2 OT loss to the Blues

GOLD STAR: Vladimir Tarasenko and his linemates had an excellent night in Game 2 and showed everybody in the hockey world that the Blues aren’t in the Stanley Cup Final by accident. It was Tarasenko who scored the tying goal with about five minutes go in the second period on a nice individual play where Tuukka Rask made the initial save on him after stopping a Jaden Schwartz shot from a distance.

Tarasenko finished with four shots on net, eight shot attempts and three hits in his 15:50 of ice time and the top line along with Brayden Schenn and Schwartz got pretty much whatever they were looking for tonight. If that continues then the Bruins better watch out.

BLACK EYE: Brad Marchand really hasn’t been very good to start this series. He finished with four giveaways, just two shots on net, and was consistently throwing away pucks, turning the puck over to the Blues and attempting to make passes and plays that simply weren’t there. 

He never really got all that much better as the went along, and for the second game in a row, the Bruins Perfection Line was shut out when it mattered most. Take away Marchand’s empty-net goal at the end of Game 1 and the B’s top trio hasn’t done much of anything in this series. The good news is that they finally figured it out after similarly struggling last round vs. Carolina, but they might not have as much time to figure it out this time around against a good Blues team.

TURNING POINT: It was overtime, baby. The Bruins simply had nothing left in the tank in OT after getting through two-plus periods with Matt Grzelcyk hurt and after the Blues had walloped the B’s with a total of 50 hits throughout a punishing, physical game. St. Louis outshot Boston 4-0 in OT with the B’s basically unable to get the puck out of their zone. Instead, Brandon Carlo dived out of desperation and a delayed penalty was called and Carl Gunnarsson scored the OT winner for the Blues on a rocket from the high point. The Blues had effectively sapped Boston of all their energy by the time the extra session got going and St. Louis was more than happy to extend the pressure and score less than four minutes into OT.  

HONORABLE MENTION: Joakim Nordstrom was probably Boston’s best player and that’s usually a sign of a loss. Still, Nordstrom gave the Bruins a lead in the first period when he managed to tuck a puck through the five-hole of Jordan Binnington for Boston’s second goal of the game. It was Nordstrom’s third goal of the playoffs and he added an epic blocked shot of a Colton Parayko point blast in the second period when he took a searing slapper off his instep trying to kill off a four-minute power play. Nordstrom was successful there and led the Bruins with five blocked shots in a gritty effort for the versatile Swede. He also finished with four shots on net and a couple of hits in his 15:38 of highly effective ice time.

BY THE NUMBERS: 50 – The number of registered hits for the St. Louis Blues, who really rolled up their sleeves and punched the Bruins in the mouth with a physical, smashmouth effort that slowed down Boston’s attack significantly.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “What [the Blues] did was I thought they were on top of us, tighter than they did the first game. They didn’t allow us to get the space. As a result, we didn’t seem to win as many races as we did Game 1 to pucks. Some of that is on us. I don’t think we managed it well enough. I think we got spread out all over the ice. So, give them credit for being tighter than us and getting to pucks first.” --Bruce Cassidy, assessing where things went wrong for the Bruins. 

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Vladimir Tarasenko insists Blues aren't phased by troubling Cup Final stat

Vladimir Tarasenko insists Blues aren't phased by troubling Cup Final stat

According to the data, the St. Louis Blues are in a pretty rough spot. According to Vladimir Tarasenko, they're just fine.

The Blues star was informed Tuesday that teams that win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, as the Boston Bruins did Monday night, go on to win the series 77.2 percent of the time.

Tarasenko's response: Who cares?

"That’s why you guys do the stats and we play on the ice," Tarasenko said Tuesday, via The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford. "Cool stats but it’s not in our heads."

If Tarasenko, who scored in the Blues' 4-2 loss Monday night, wanted to make a counter-argument, he could point to St. Louis' loss to the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of the Western Conference final. The Blues won four of the next five games to storm back and take the series.

This is also a club that ranked dead last in the NHL on Jan. 3, so the Blues know what it means to be counted out.

But if St. Louis isn't able to even the series Wednesday night in Game 2 at TD Garden, those "cool stats" may be too hard to ignore: Teams that take a 2-0 lead in the Cup Final are 46-5 (90.2 winning percentage) since it went to a best-of-seven format in 1939.

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How the Bruins and Blues match up in the Stanley Cup Final

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USA TODAY Sports photos

How the Bruins and Blues match up in the Stanley Cup Final

The Bruins and St. Louis Blues aren’t exactly equals in all areas, but there are enough similarities that Bruce Cassidy called them “twins” when sharing his first thoughts about the official Stanley Cup Final matchup. 

Certainly, they've engaged in physical, hard-nosed and low-scoring games the past five-plus seasons when they've met and that bodes well for the entertainment value in this championship series. There are high-end, dazzling offensive talents in David Pastrnak and Vladimir Tarasenko, top flight, high-end defenders in Zdeno Chara and Alex Pietrangelo, and two very hot goaltenders in Tuukka Rask and Jordan Binnington.

So, there will be no shortage of excellent players and it should be a pounding series that shouldn’t lack for entertainment. It should also end with a Bruins series victory and another title for Boston based on the B's more experienced players and perhaps even a little dash of the home-ice advantage coming through in the end.

The prediction here is the Bruins in seven games over St. Louis.