For the first time in the Stanley Cup Final, ‘Gloria’ was blaring at the Enterprise Center as the St. Louis Blues earned their first Cup Final win on home ice in franchise history with a 4-2 Game 4 win over the Boston Bruins that tied the series at two games apiece. The series is now a best-of-three and shifts back to Boston for Game 5 on Thursday, and there will be another game in St. Louis, with Game 6 slated for Sunday.
The Bruins didn’t just lose the game though, they lost captain Zdeno Chara who took a puck to the cheek 3:07 into the second period, forcing the Bruins – as they did when Matt Grzelcyk went down in the first period of their 3-2 overtime loss to the Blues in Game 2 – to play with five defensemen for the final 36:57 of play. Chara would return to the Bruins bench for the third period with a protective shield, but did not play another minute and simply stayed there for moral support to his teammates.
The Blues were led by forward Ryan O’Reilly who scored the opening goal 43 ticks into the game and then got the game-winner at 10:38 of the third period. After the Bruins tied the game at one on a Charlie Coyle goal 13:14 into the opening frame, Vladimir Tarasenko answered the bell regaining the lead for the Blues just 1:16 later. Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo scored a shorthanded goal and his first ever Stanley Cup playoff goal to tie the game at two 14:19 into the second period. After O’Reilly gave the Blues the lead again, Brayden Schenn sealed the deal with an empty-netter 18:31 into the third period.
Blues Goalie Jordan Binnington made 21 saves and Bruins goalie was brilliant once again, making 34 saves.
Boston Bruins Report Card
Zdeno Chara: B-
This may not be popular opinion right now and many Bruins fans will probably look at this as taboo, but if not for the amazing grit, heart and leadership he showed returning for the third period in what had to be agonizing pain after taking a puck to the face early in the third period, Chara is likely getting a C at best here.
Yes, he assisted on Coyle’s game-tying goal in the first period, but he was caught flat-footed and out of position on Tarasenko’s go-ahead goal in the first period. The veteran 42-year-old blueliner looked his age as the Blues were swarming prior to the goal and left the slot down the middle wide open for Tarasenko to zip through and beat Bruins goalie on a rebound Chara should’ve been scooping up and clearing.
Alex Pietrangelo with the toe-drag … Vladimir Tarasenko with the rebound.
2-1 STL pic.twitter.com/Koa6RQZRbi
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) June 4, 2019
Obviously, the Bruins won’t be better off without their captain in Game 5 and going forward on the series, but in many ways, their defense was better in the immediate aftermath of Chara leaving the game. All that being said, the fact he was on the bench to support his teammates and according to Carlo, unable to talk, just shows how tough Chara is and what a leader he is.
“Obviously his mouth has some blood, and some whatever, I don’t know what’s going on in there,” Carlo said. “But he can barely talk and he’s out there supporting us. His leadership is on a whole other level — especially in this final round — from what I’ve seen. He’s always been there for us. He’s been great communicating. He just wants to be there to support us.”
Tuukka Rask: B+
The Tuukka haters were out in full force after O’Reilly’s game-winner came off a juicy rebound but the Tuukka haters just hate and don’t actually back that hate up with facts. Yes, that rebound was on Rask, but the fact his teammates suddenly were a d-man short and had to go back into bend don’t break mode in the third period, getting out-shot 13-4, was not Rask’s fault. The Bruins don’t even sniff a game in the third period if not for the Conn Smythe favorite.
Could he have been better? Yes. But he’s human and as I said in our Facebook Live pregame show from Porter’s Bar and Grille, with Rask being in the zone he’s been in throughout the playoffs, there’s the danger that the Bruins become complacent at times thinking that Rask will save their bacon all the time. He saved plenty of bacon again but just couldn’t control that rebound. Still, Rask was far from the problem.
“I guess they were a little more desperate than we were today,” Rask said. “They were that much better.”
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 4, 2019
Brad Marchand: B+
Heading into Game 4, Brad Marchand had only one goal and that goal was an empty-netter to seal a 4-2 win in Game 1. Other than that, the Bruins leading points man in the playoffs and regular season had been rather invisible. In Game 4 though, Marchand, even though he didn’t score, showed up in a big way. Not only did he make a beautiful play and pass that led to Carlo’s first period shorthanded goal, but he was also being that aggravating and sneaky pest again.
With the Blues on an early third period power play, Marchand skated by Jordan Binnigton and tripped him. He did that when he knew the refs weren’t looking and was hoping to get the Blues to take a retaliatory penalty and nullify their power play. That didn’t happen, but it was clear both offensively and in the pest department, Marchand was feeling it again as he finished with an assist, four hits and one blocked shot. For the second straight game, he also had no turnovers.
Brad Marchand ▶️▶️▶️ Jordan Binnington #HfHits
The savagery. pic.twitter.com/rsOhZn7RNf
— hockeyfights (@hockeyfights) June 4, 2019
Brandon Carlo: A
Carlo isn’t a rookie but he is playoff rookie, and while he looked like one for the first few minutes of Game 4, Carlo got it together and ended up scoring his first career playoff goal on a shorty 14:19 into the second period, tying the game at two. Once Chara went down, Carlo and his blue line partner Torey Krug had to pick up the minutes and Carlo ended up logging 20:07 TOI and finished with one blocked shot, one takeaway and two blocked shots. Carlo continues to be the Bruins best shutdown defenseman in this playoffs and in Game 4, he showed he’s got some offensive prowess too, pinching down low and burying the rebound of a Patrice Bergeron shot by Binnington.
Bruins Special Teams: B
For the first time in the series, the Bruins power play didn’t light the lamp going 0-for-2. They’re still scoring at a 34.8 percent clip though and chances are, that rate will increase as this series goes on. Still, though, the Blues penalty kill did a splendid job adapting and limiting the Grade A chances the Bruins had previously seen on the man-advantage.
Meanwhile, the Bruins penalty kill not only did their job but they contributed offensively with Carlo’s shorthanded goal. The PK did a great job keeping the shots to the perimeter and making the Blues prone for a turnover, which led to the Carlo goal.