BOSTON- Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara set the tone with a monstrous hit on Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist 38 seconds into the game and his teammates followed his lead with one of their most complete games of the season for a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues Saturday night at TD Garden. This was the first time the Bruins and Blues played since the Blues beat the Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and skated the Cup around Garden ice back on June 12. The Bruins claimed all week that this was just another game on the schedule but it was evident after the Chara hit that it meant more to the team that had to watch the Blues celebrate in their barn last June.
Tuukka Rask made 26 saves for his second shutout of the season and Bruins winger David Pastrnak remained the hottest player in the NHL as he scored his league-leading 11th goal of the season to help the Bruins gain some revenge with a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues. Forward Anders Bjork and defenseman Brandon Carlo also lit the lamp for Boston.
Pastrnak put the Bruins up 1-0 on the power play when he beat Blues goalie Jordan Binnington (21 saves) 14:59 into the opening frame. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug and forward Brad Marchand assisted on the power play tally.
Bjork made it 2-0 when he notched his first goal of the season in just his second game. Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk and forward Danton Heinen had the helpers.
Carlo’s empty-netter with :49 seconds left was all she wrote for the Blues and the Bruins finished arguably their best effort of the season.
‘O Captain, My Captain’ – It was likely no coincidence that Chara’s tone-setting hit came on Sundqvist, who as you may recall, was the Blues player that laid a dirty hit on Grzelcyk in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, forcing the Bruins blueliner to miss the next four games in the series with a concussion. Chara saw the opportunity and he took it, subsequently turning the temperature up in the game and giving the Bruins that extra confidence that they wouldn’t be pushed around like they were in the Final.
“Felt like we were back in the playoffs,” head coach Bruce Cassidy acknowledged after the game.
“Obviously, we knew there’s be some heightened emotions coming into the game,” he said. “But for him to start the game like that it gives our team a spark. I think it kind of set the tone for the rest of the game and got us alive on the bench a little.”
Zdeno Chara greets **Oskar Sundqvist.
Sundqvist was the one who drilled Matt Grzelcyk in Game 2. pic.twitter.com/tvqlrLn7o0
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 26, 2019
‘Pasta’ Stays Hot – Pastrnak has now a point in eight straight games and a goal in five straight. He tied his goal total from last October and trails only Charlie Simmer (12 in 1985-86) and Phil Esposito (14 in 1973-74) for most goals by a Bruin in the month of October. Pastrnak now has 18 points on the season and shows no sign of slowing down.
Make that goals in five straight games for David Pastrnak.
His 11th goal of the year makes it 1-0 Bruins. pic.twitter.com/JBTp1t31f3
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 26, 2019
Rask The Goal Nazi Again – For the second time this season, Rask said “No goal for you!” to an opponent, turning away all 26 Blues shots and really making it look easy. After the game, Rask once again credited Cassidy’s use of him and Halak in what until Saturday, had been a perfect rotation alternating between the two goalies through the first nine games of the season.
“I feel good; I feel fresh,” Rask said. “It’s been like that for a long time. I think it’s very good that we split the playing time with Jaro and kind of keep the playing time fresh, giving us some good practice time and rest. It’s been benefitting us as a team.”
Bjork Making A Case To Stay – When the Bruins reassigned Bjork to Providence (AHL) this past Wednesday, it was not because he played poorly against the Maple Leafs the night before and Cassidy made a point of crediting the 23-year-old winger after the game. That’s likely why he was the Bruins’ first choice for a call-up again when they realized Krejci’s (upper-body) wasn’t progressing and they would need a body up front again.
The former Notre Dame product and the Bruins’ 2014 fifth round pick took full advantage of another opportunity to stick in the show when he broke in with Matt Grzelcyk and finished the give-and-go with a laser on the one-timer to beat Binnington for a 2-0 Bruins lead.
Bjork knows the Bruins need secondary scoring and he was happy to help the cause in only his second game.
“It feels good,” Bjork said. “I think all players know that you go through highs and lows with that and you sort of get lucky at times. I think there was a little bit of luck on that shot for sure, so you gotta learn to ride it, whether your high or low. It was nice to get that one but I want to stay consistent.”
Anders Bjork makes it 2-0 Bruins. pic.twitter.com/9yzBw6Hdnu
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 27, 2019
Krejci Misses Fourth Straight Game, Bjork Returns – Krejci missed his fourth straight game and fifth game of this young season. As a result, the Bruins recalled forward Anders Bjork only two days after sending him back to Providence. Bjork was back on a line with Par Lindholm and Danton Heinen and once again, Cassidy made sure to keep Bjork on his natural side at left wing with Heinen on his off-wing.
Joakim Nordstrom returned to the lineup after missing the last two games and was back on ‘The Grind Line’ with Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner.
Here’s what the rest of the lineup looked like against the defending Stanley Cup champions:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – Charlie Coyle – Brett Ritchie
Anders Bjork – Par Lindholm – Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton