Is there such a thing as a moral victory? Usually, at this point in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the answer is no. However, after a poor performance by the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues, the only positive that can come from a loss like this, is that the Bruins breakout can break the aggressive forecheck of the Blues.
What makes the forecheck so good is how active the Blues defense is. While the Bruins would fall to the Blues 3-2 in overtime in Game 2, late in the third period of Game 2, the Bruins found a weakness which they can exploit as the series shifts to St. Louis.
At the 1:17 mark of the third period the Bruins breakout was textbook and almost won the game in regulation!! The Bruins had four guys cross the blueline and three on puck support, despite good pressure from the Blues.
After the Blues dumped the puck into the Bruins defensive zone, defenseman Brandon Carlo retrieved the puck and will take a hit from Blues forward Alex Steen as he makes a pass over to Zdeno Chara to get the breakout started.
Like Carlo, Chara is pressured from Ivan Barbashev but shows no panic and is calm and cool as he gets hit. Notice the options Chara has as he can either pass to Brad Marchand on the wall, Jake DeBrusk on the far side, or Patrice Bergeron who trailed behind Marchand. Chara makes the smart play as he makes a pass to Bergeron who starts the breakout into the neutral zone.
The Bruins speed was on display as Bergeron puck entered the neutral zone as he backed up the Blues defense to give himself two options, as he chose to pass the puck to Marchand who snuck behind Blues defenseman Colton Parayko.
Marchand enters the offensive zone with good puck support, and the Bruins cycle goes to work. The Bruins will have four players on the puck once again and will never be outmanned or lose a puck battle.
As the puck comes out of the zone, the Bruins are outnumbered, but Charlie McAvoy steps up to make a great play to tip the puck to Jake DeBrusck, who makes a pass to Marchand that leads to an excellent opportunity to end the game and an offensive zone faceoff lead as time winds down in the third period.
The breakout out of the defensive zone is crucial, and when executed right can lead to a scoring opportunity in a critical time in a game.