The Boston Bruins had confidence going into Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues that they could force a Game 7. The Bruins did precisely that with a 5-1 win to send the series back to Boston for a Game 7 on Wednesday.
The Bruins pulled off the perfect road game as they kept things simple and established their style of game. Game 6 was a complete role reversal from Game 5, as the Blues dominated the play for most of the game and if it was not for the play of Tuukka Rask, the Bruins might not have seen the next game. The Bruins were opportunistic on the scoreboard, just like the Blues were in Game 5, and took advantage of the Blues mental lapses.
Even though the Bruins lost Game 5, they were able to reestablish their game, and that carried over into Game 6. More specifically how the Bruins forecheck was effective against the Blues as the forwards were able to pressure the puck with great support from the backend, and forced turnovers that led to two big goals from Brandon Carlo and Karson Kuhlman early in the third period to increase the lead were perfect examples of that.
At the 17:34 mark of the third period, the Bruins are on the attack with the puck deep in the offensive zone as the Bruins are back on the attack. The puck is pinned along the boards as Kuhlman and Jake DeBrusk will battle for the puck and are outnumbered by three Blues defenders. Kuhlman and DeBrusk will make sure not to lose this puck battle.
Kuhlman will win the puck battle as he sends the puck up the boards up to DeBrusk, who is supported by Charlie Coyle. Even though there are four Blues defenders in the picture, the Bruins outnumber the Blues on the boards to win the puck battle as DeBrusk will send the puck back to the point.
The puck comes to defenseman Carlo on the point, who has multiple options. Carlo can either take a shot on Binnington or pass it over to Torey Krug, who has a wide open lane to shoot. Carlo will take a shot from the point and the puck will goal in passed Binnington to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead.
On the second Bruins goal of the third period at the 9:26 mark of the period, the puck is in the offensive zone once again as DeBrusk brings pressure on the Blues puck carrier defenseman Alex Pietrangelo to force him into a play he does not want to make and leads to a turnover in the neutral zone.
David Krejci, who played his best game of the series, supports DeBrusk and picks up the puck in the neutral zone. Krejci is smart as he waits for his teammates to get back onside before he rushes into the zone.
Krejci enters the zone with DeBrusk on his left and Kuhlman on his right as the Bruins created a mini 3-on-2. Krejci has two options he can either pass the puck to the trailer Kuhlman or DeBrusk who is skating hard towards the net.
With the Blues defenders backed up, Krejci makes the smart play to pass to the trailer Kuhlman. Kuhlman will take a couple of strides and takes a shot from the top of the circle that goes bar down passed Binnington for his first of the playoffs as the Bruins increase the lead to 3-0.
The Bruins were much more effective five-on-five, which they needed to be, and that was thanks in part to how good the forecheck was in Game 6. That intensity and mindset will have to carry over into Game 7 if the Bruins want to lift the Stanley Cup on home ice.