Boston Bruins: Not bailed out by fourth line in disappointing Game 4 loss

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JUNE 03: Jordan Binnington #50 of the St. Louis Blues makes a save against Sean Kuraly #52 of the Boston Bruins in Game Four of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center on June 03, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JUNE 03: Jordan Binnington #50 of the St. Louis Blues makes a save against Sean Kuraly #52 of the Boston Bruins in Game Four of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center on June 03, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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The Boston Bruins have returned to repeat history with another rather miserable outcome and effort following a strong win. This time around, the fourth line was not there to show up and bail out the Bruins.

That was a game to forget. The Boston Bruins gave up the first goal in the very first minute of a game and it all started to move in the wrong direction.

What was surprising about that opening goal? The Bruins gave it up with their fourth line on the ice. Usually, the Bruins have been getting a ton of support from their fourth line.

Their job has sometimes camouflaged the bad performances from the Boston Bruins. Before Game 4, it was the trio of Joakim Nordstrom, Noel Acciari and Sean Kuraly almost always showing up. When the B’s needed them on the penalty kill, they have been sharp. When the Bruins wanted some offensive spark, they scored big-time goals.

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In Game 1, it was Nordstrom passing the puck to Kuraly, who opened up Connor Clifton as he brought the Boston Bruins within one goal and kickstarted Boston’s comeback in that opening tilt of the Stanley Cup Final. In the third period, Sean Kuraly scored a game-winner to lift the Bruins to victory in Game 1.

In Game 2, Joakim Nordstrom put the Bruins ahead to make it 2-1, but that was not enough though. Later on in that game, Nordstrom made himself a night with three courageous blocks in consecution on the penalty kill situation late in the second period with the clash tied at two apiece.

In Game 3, the fourth line heroics returned back. Right before the end of the first period, Nordstrom soccered the puck lose as Sean Kuraly buried it past unsuspecting goaltender Jordan Binnington. That was the second game-winning tally of the Stanley Cup Final courtesy of Kuraly. In the third period with the net empty, Noel Acciari cashed in to record his first ever Stanley Cup Final goal.

During the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final, Nordstrom had one goal and three assists, Kuraly had two game-winners and another two assists and Acciari recorded one goal and an assist.

With the Boston Bruins getting no even-strength points from their top-six forwards in those games, the fourth line production turned out to be very crucial. Nevertheless, moving forward for Boston, it is impossible to pretend like no even-strength points from the top-six guys swapped for  great work from the fourth line is enough.

In Game 4, the fourth line has been spoiled by the Blues. The fourth line had the ice-time at even strength at 7:58, second-most among Boston Bruins forward lines. They finished the night with just two attempts for versus 12 against them, that is the CF% at 14.29. The xGF% was at 20.05. Those were the worst numbers among all the Bruins four offensive lines at even strength.

Was that a problem? Absolutely not. You can expect your fourth line having ONE bad game in four tries in the Stanley Cup Final. What is more concerning is that the Boston Bruins are much, much better than just relying on their fourth line guys’ heroics. After the first game in the Stanley Cup Final without a point from the fourth line, the Bruins have been spoiled.

The biggest emphasis for the Boston Bruins going forward and turning to Game 5 cannot be attempting to revive their fourth line. Those guys will respond or at least contribute in some way.

Next. Chara takes puck to face in Game 4. dark

The Boston Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy needs a spark and some even-strength production from his top two lines. Because so far in the series he has seen exactly zero even-strength points from them. Interestingly, the Bruins fourth line being spoiled leaves the top-six skaters in the evidence.