Here’s your Boston Hockey Now Report Card after the Boston Bruins lost 2-1 to the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston Thursday night and now head back to St. Louis for Game 6 Sunday night, needing a win to force a Game 7 back here in Boston next Wednesday.
Before I get into our grades of certain Boston Bruins in their 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, the officiating in Game 5 needs to be graded as well and it gets a big fat F. Late in the second period I tweeted that fans blaming the refs for the Bruins being down 1-0 at that point were in denial. Yes by that point in the game, the Bruins had already been victims of multiple non-calls – namely a shoulder to the headshot from Blues forward Zach Sanford to Bruins defenseman Torey Krug – but that didn’t change the fact that they had out-shot the Blues 24-14 at that point and still had no goals. They stopped skating for good portions of the second period and could’ve buried some chances, namely on two power plays in the first two frames.
This Zach Sanford hit to the head of Torey Krug wasn’t called a penalty. pic.twitter.com/DsMgaPsRZq
— Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) June 7, 2019
Clearly, that call was missed with an official right there but as any good team needs to do, the Bruins needed to carry on and stay the course. To their credit, they tried to do that, but what happened halfway through the third period right before Blues winger David Perron put his team up 2-0 at 10:36, was as Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game, simply “egregious”.
Blues forward Tyler Bozak – right in front of an official again – flat-out slew-footed Bruins forward Noel Acciari as he was trying to clear the puck out of the zone. Acciari lost the puck, and a few seconds later Perron beat Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask for a 2-0 lead.
Unbelievable. Noel Acciari is tripped and the Blues score to make it 2-0. This is a joke pic.twitter.com/6qrwz1WoKd
— Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) June 7, 2019
No one is saying that the refs lost the game for the Bruins and the B’s did cut that lead in half on a Jake DeBrusk goal with 6:28 left in the game, but that just ended up making a goal the Blues never would’ve gotten if the ref blows his whistle there, become the game-winner. The Bruins are facing elimination now because they lacked the proper intensity and execution in Games 2 and 4 and for parts of Game 5, but Cassidy was right to say after the game “We thought we got f’n screwed!”
Officiating continues to dominate post-game talk instead of the games and once again the officiating failed the game, the players and the fans.
Zdeno Chara: A
The fact that at age 42, in his 84th game of the season and playoffs combined, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara played Game 5 with a broken jaw gets him at least a B+. However, Chara wasn’t just an inspirational presence for his teammates, he was a factor and one of Boston’s best defenseman despite finishing at a minus 1. Chara played for 16:42 on 25 shifts. He had two shots, three blocked shots, and four hits. Absolutely astonishing for a man who sat on the Bruins bench for the third period of Game 4 looking as if he may be done for the series. Chara is the epitome of guts, passion, and leadership and while the Bruins didn’t deliver a win for their injured captain, seeing him play in that pain is something they will never forget.
“That’s what you do this time of year,” Cassidy said. “His injury is a little more serious than some. He was medically cleared with some warnings and he made the decision to play. Inspirational for us, good player for us, we knew he wouldn’t be 100% so we were happy to have him out there. But it just speaks a lot to his character and his will to play.”
“It shows his character,” goalie Tuukka Rask said. “It takes a lot for him not to play. Yeah, he’s got some big balls.”
— Jimmy Murphy (@MurphysLaw74) June 7, 2019
The Top 6 Forwards: C –
13:32 into the third period of Game 5, a Bruins top six forward finally registered a point during 5-on-5 play as DeBrusk took a beautiful feed from defenseman Torey Krug to make it 2-1 at the time. However, that was it when it comes to the top 6 and they now enter Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final with one total point on 5-on-5 play amongst them. No team is winning a Stanley Cup with such lack of even strength production. Yes Patrice Bergeron (3), Brad Marchand (4) and David Pastrnak (6) registered a combined 13 shots and yes they played more physical, but they still didn’t execute and that’s what counts on the scoreboard. If they’re not getting at least an A here after Game 6, that means that will be the final game report card for the season as the Blues will have just won the Stanley Cup.
“The playoffs have been different for me, so hopefully it does [change] and obviously that’s what I’m telling myself in my head is to keep shooting more and to keep going in those areas, but, um, you know I’m not going to sit here and say I’m red hot,” DeBrusk said when asked if his goal will start a hot streak for him now. He and the rest of the top 6 only needs a three-game scoring streak now and the Bruins will have a chance to force Game 7.
Jake DeBrusk makes it a 2-1 game. pic.twitter.com/sRWpN9Odxm
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) June 7, 2019
With one of the best faceoff men in the game in Bergeron, the Bruins are known to be one of the toughest teams to win the battle at the dot with. In this series though, the Bruins have lost more than they’ve won and in Game 5, the B’s lost that battle 38-26. Blues center Ryan O’Reilly dominated the Bruins at the dot, 19-9. Krejci had a horrible night as the B’s tried to have Bergeron ignore O’Reilly. Krejci only won four of 17 faceoff attempts. Bergeron was the only Bruin in the positive, going 15-10 at the dot.
The Bruins need to regain their swagger at the faceoff dot and make that a trademark of their game again. With the offense struggling, winning more faceoffs will create more and better chances.