The Blues will travel to Boston to take on the Bruins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Thursday night. The series is currently tied 2-2, as each team has split their games at home so far.
Game 4 Review
Game 4 in St. Louis was once again controlled by the Blues. To say this series has gone back and forth is an understatement. Games 1 and 3 were dominated by the Bruins, where they outscored the Blues by a total of 11-4. Games 2 and 4, on the other hand, were one-sided in favor of the Blues. Game 4 was a very physical game where St. Louis was able to once again stay out of the penalty box when needed and even up the series.
Boston failed to get much done at all in Game 4, despite only losing 4-2. Goaltender Tuukka Rask was able to keep them in the game while the Blues seemed to be in the Bruins’ zone constantly. Lack of physical play from the Bruins, along with losing captain Zdeno Chara to a broken jaw from a deflected slap shot, allowed the Blues to control the tempo of the game from start to finish.
Each team has experienced substantial highs and lows during this series. The Blues ability to win seems dependent on their ability to stay aggressive while also staying out of the penalty box. As Blues coach Craig Berube pointed out to the media before Game 4, St. Louis was the least penalized team during the regular season, but those numbers shot up during the Finals. In games where the Blues can keep it at 5 on 5 against the Bruins, they are overwhelming for Boston on both ends of the ice. In fact, Boston’s All-Star top line of Bergeron, Pastrnak, and Marchand has 0 points in the Finals when both teams are at full strength.
Boston fell short in a huge chance to go up 3-1 in the series in St. Louis. The Bruins really seemed to lose their energy after losing their captain while the game was still tied. Despite the Blues controlling most of the game, Boston had a lot of opportunities to take this game away from the Blues. The problem they had was, again, scoring 5 on 5. The key guys simply have not shown up enough for the Bruins in this series. The top two lines have combined for fewer points than the lower two lines during the Finals.
The good news for the Bruins is that the lower guys have stepped up huge for them and got them to this point. The Bruins have amazingly had 20 different skaters score for them during the 2019 playoffs so far. The depth is without a doubt keeping their team running right now, but how much will they be able to withstand with the injuries to all their defensemen?
What to expect
With a series that has been so back and forth, it is hard to know what to expect. When the Bruins put together a game that makes them look unstoppable, the Blues bounce back and take the momentum away. When the Blues stop the Bruins, Boston looks helpless against them, but then they somehow came into St. Louis to win 7-2. Right now, the best bet is to roll with the trend. This series was everything we expected it to be with the two best teams in the NHL. I believe it will go to a full seven-game series, and I am taking the Bruins in Game 5 in Boston.
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