Boston Bruins: Top 5 things they should take from Game 2

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 27: The St. Louis Blues skate on offense against the Boston Bruins during the first period in Game One of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on May 27, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 27: The St. Louis Blues skate on offense against the Boston Bruins during the first period in Game One of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on May 27, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

It was bound to happen sometime. After a dominant month of nothing but wins, the Boston Bruins fell in disappointing overtime fashion against the St. Louis Blues in Wednesday night’s Game 2.

There’s a fair share of good and bad things to take from the Boston Bruins’ Game 2 loss as the series shifts to St. Louis for Saturday night’s Game 3.

Firstly, it’s a seven-game series, and a loss early in the series could simply turn out to be a footnote in the series’s story. And it’s been simply wonderful to see lesser-known Bruins take the stage due to their tough, inspired play.

Then again, it showcased some rather troubling trends such as the top line’s disappearance, and the loss of Matt Grzelcyk due to a nasty hit to the head by Oskar Sundqvist is an alarming one as the Bruins face a tied series going to St. Louis.

It can often be difficult to really lend an analytical eye both during and immediately after a game. Emotions are running high and we’re still working hard to process what we’ve just seen.

With a day removed to lick my own wounds and recover, I revisited the tape and came out with five things that the Boston Bruins need to keep in mind as they approach Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

5. Jordan Binnington is good, but he’s not unstoppable.

We must give credit where it’s due. The fact that a 25-year-old rookie is holding his own as the de-facto starter in the Stanley Cup Final is no small feat, and it speaks to his talent as a goaltender.

But I couldn’t stop replaying the Charlie Coyle power play goal that came halfway through the first period.

That’s a pretty pedestrian goal to allow, in my opinion. I played the GIF a few times, pausing every few seconds to analyze the play.

Coyle was always facing directly towards Binnington and there was no direct traffic between the two players (thanks, Blues defensemen!). Jordan Binnington has eyes on the entire sequence; he sees Coyle rear up and shoot, and he has more than enough time to close the five-hole and stone Coyle.

There’s no screen in front of Binnington. Two of his defensemen weakly extend their sticks in the hope of deflecting the shot back into play, but neither of them come anywhere close to actually interfering with Coyle’s shot.

It came down to not closing that five-hole fast enough, which is no excuse given that Binnington really had all of the time in the world to do so. Coyle’s shot wasn’t deceptive in any way. He knew it was coming, but he let it in anyway.

Oh, and the other goal was five-hole, too.

Am I being unfair? Probably. But the point is that inexperience in the playoffs, especially when you’ve become the guy for your team in a rather short period of time, is very dangerous.

Bruins fans should count themselves lucky that Rask has extensive playoff experience, because that experience simmers down into a learned composure that has quite literally saved the Bruins several times.

4. Hooray for the bottom six!

This got covered several times by many outlets, including our own. I was hesitant to include this in the piece because of that, but I do want to point it out anyway because they really have been extraordinary.

Coyle, Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom (shot-blocking is no joke!) were particularly wonderful in Game 2. I expect great things from them in the ensuing games. It’s comforting to know that even if the top line is uneven, that the Bruins can make up for it since everyone is equally capable of making big plays and scoring.

More on that later.

3. Tuukka Rask should receive a key to the city of Boston. Seriously.

Tuukka Rask‘s inspiring play throughout this entire run should effectively shut up most of the Rask haters out there. Simply put; the man has kept the Boston Bruins in it by sheer force of will.

Even if Vladimir Tarasenko eventually scored on this play, I found it amazing how well Rask defended the net on those first two attempts, the first coming from Jaden Schwartz.

He’s put on a masterclass in goaltending. Having made 34 saves in Game 2, he’s a big reason the game went to overtime to begin with. I’m willing to bet the Blues dressing room has a picture of him with a red circle over his face littered with question marks hung up on a wall somewhere.

The Conn Smythe Trophy literally is not enough reward for Rask’s play. Change my mind.

2. Should we file an APB for the Perfection Line?

Aside from David Pastrnak’s secondary assist on Coyle’s power play goal, the Bruins’ top line was noticeably absent from Game 2 – both on the scoreboard and off.

Patrice Bergeron was not his usual self at the face-off dot, and Brad Marchand made some interesting artistic decisions which hindered the Bruins’ momentum at a few key points during the game.

Fluffing a pass when you should’ve shot? Oof. That still hurts more than a day later.

The line has only combined for two points this series, which came from Marchand’s empty-net goal from Game 1 and Pastrnak’s secondary assist on Coyle’s goal in Game 2. That is unacceptable.

There’s no way around saying this: this line needs to perform up to the standard for which it has set itself. The more I think about this uncharacteristic slump the more I wonder about the reasons why it could be.

We can only hope that neither of the Boston Bruins’ three stars are suffering injuries, but if that’s not the reason for their inaction this series, what is?

1. Intensity and physical play is great, but stamina is key. 

One could argue that in terms of narrative relevance, the Perfection Line’s missing in action status might surpass this point. However, it simply must be said that as the game went on the Bruins lost their momentum, which allowed the Blues to power ahead and rightfully win in overtime.

Their first period was amazing in Game 2. They were right on the puck and made excellent plays, and the fact that they scored first is a testament to that.

But the momentum didn’t last. St. Louis out shot the Boston Bruins in all three regulation periods, and let’s be honest here: that overtime period was theirs from puck drop.

We know the Boston Bruins want a Stanley Cup, but they need to start playing more like it.

Next. Hit on Grzelcyk leads to one game suspension. dark

The setting shifts to St. Louis on the heels of the Blues’ first-ever Stanley Cup Final victory, and we all know that momentum and gaining an edge on dynamic shifts are crucial.