Preview: Blues at Bruins
The St. Louis Blues were on the short end of a couple of dominating performances by the Boston Bruins, but they responded each time with an impressive victory of their own to turn the Stanley Cup Finals into a best-of-3 affair. After tying the series at two wins apiece with a 4-2 victory on Monday, St. Louis heads to Boston for Thursday night's pivotal Game 5.
The Blues were manhandled by the Bruins 7-2 in Game 3 at St. Louis, but they bounced back with what coach Craig Berube termed a "relentless" effort to earn the franchise's first-ever home win in the Cup Finals. "I think so far, each and every series, we've gotten better as the series was going on," forward David Perron said. "We have to have our foot on the gas from now on. ... Again, I think (Thursday) is another opportunity to be doing that. We're going to be looking to be the team that gets the next win." Although Boston could be without captain Zdeno Chara after the towering defenseman suffered a facial injury in Game 4, the team's confidence remains high heading back to TD Garden, having lost consecutive games only once in the playoffs. "It's good to be home," defenseman Charlie McAvoy said. "And we've already spoken as a group on where we are mentally and just really embracing this for what it is. I mean, it's a best-of-3 now for the Stanley Cup. What an opportunity, it's unbelievable."
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, TVAS
ABOUT THE BLUES: Ryan O'Reilly broke out of a rut in a big way, ending an eight-game goal drought by scoring in the first minute before delivering the game-winning tally in the third period. Berube also lavished praise on the fourth line of Oskar Sundqvist, Alexander Steen and Ivan Barbashev, who each logged more than 17 minutes and were matched up against Boston's top line in Game 4. "I'll tell you what, Sundqvist's line was unreal," Berube said. "They did a great job against (Patrice) Bergeron all night. They were out there almost every shift against Bergeron's line. I thought they did a helluva job."
ABOUT THE BRUINS: Chara reportedly suffered a broken jaw when he was hit in the face with a puck in Game 4, but coach Bruce Cassidy did not rule him out even though the 6-foot-9 blue-liner was not at practice Wednesday. While Boston's top line usually sets the tone offensively, the No. 2 unit of Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci and David Backes has been mired in a slump, combining for only two assists in the series. “Talk is cheap at this time of the year,” said Krejci, who was held without a shot on goal in Game 4. “We’ve just got to look at ourselves in the mirror and do the things that we talk about doing.”
1. Bruins D Matt Grzelcyk, out the past two games, practiced in a non-contact jersey Wednesday but remains in the concussion protocol.
2. St. Louis is 8-3 on the road in the playoffs, including a 3-2 overtime win in Game 2.
3. Bruins third-line C Charlie Coyle has scored in three straight games.
PREDICTION: Bruins 4, Blues 2