For the third time this post-season the Boston Bruins will face elimination as they prepare to do battle with the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final down 3-2 in the series after a 2-1 loss in Game 5. The Bruins have been in this position numerous times in the playoffs and have delivered in the big moments. The Bruins will need to deliver one more big moment in Game 6 if there is to be a Game 7 Wednesday night back in Boston.
There is a belief amongst the players in their ability to get the job done.
“We just want to play,” Charlie McAvoy told reporters on Friday when the Bruins arrived in St. Louis. ” We believe in each other and this is a chance for us to come here and win a game. We will be ready to go. This is it our back are against the wall.”
The Bruins backs are definitely against the wall in this game, but these playoffs have shown, nothing is over until the final buzzer goes off.
Here is what the Bruins need to do to avoid elimination in Game 6:
Survive the Start – The Bruins must be prepared for the Blues to look the end the game early. In two of the three elimination games played in St. Louis this post-season, the Blues have scored a goal within in the first two minutes of the hockey game. Against Winnipeg in round one, Jaden Schwartz scored 23 seconds in and against San Jose in the Western Conference Final, David Perron scored a 1:12 in. The Blues have a record of 6-0 in the playoffs when scoring a goal within the first two minutes of a hockey game. The Bruins need to be the ones to strike first.
The Perfection Line Has to Produce – The Line Combination of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Patrice Bergeron have combined through five games, the top line has compiled a total of 8 points, all of which have come on the power play. That line has not produced a single five-on-five goal or point in this series. Outside the power play, the only goal scored was an empty netter by Brad Marchand in Game 1. However, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has a feeling that line is due for a big game.
“I feel they are close, Cassidy told reporters. “I do believe they were better and closer to scoring than they have been. Listen we want them to score. Your best players need to be your best players. I feel someone will step up. Probably them because they usually do.”
Generate More Five-On-Five Goals – Through this series, the Bruins have only scored a total of five even strength goals. The Blues have dominated that category especially in Games 4 and 5. That is not good enough to win. Besides the Production Line, the rest of the forwards need to score goals especially the David Krejci line. That line was more active in Game 5, but on the road they will need to be a lot smarter and keep things simple. In order for the Bruins to generate more goals five-on-five, the Bruins must generate scoring chances off the rush, that is when they are at their best.
Power Play Must Produce – Since the power play scored four goals on four shots in a total of 2:04 in Game 3, the Bruins have gone 0-for-5 between Games 4 and 5. The key to the power play is zone entry, which the Blues have taken away from the Bruins. The Bruins will need adjust and when they did generated some nice chances in Game 5. The power play is one of the reasons are here and will have to show why it is the best in the playoffs come Game 6.
Take Advantage of Suspended Blues Player – Just like in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, when Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist was suspended for an illegal check to the head, Blues forward Ivan Barbashev is suspended for the same for Game 6. The Bruins were able to take advantage of Sundqvist’s absence and will need to do the same in Game 6. Barbashev, like Sundqvist, is an important piece on that fourth line for the Blues. The Bruins will need to exploit whoever fills in on that line.
It is now or never for the Bruins as they must leave it all out there on the ice. The Bruins are ready to go and are confident there will be a Game 7.
Game 6 between the Bruins and Blues is scheduled for Sunday night at 8 pm.