Charlie McAvoy looked a little skittish on his first pass of the game but settled down quickly.
Sean Kuraly took a tripping penalty early, and Boston was able to kill it off without the Blues getting much by way of chances. They did get zone time but Boston was able to keep it to the perimeter.
After the kill, Boston got their non-PP-heavy unit of Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci, and David Backes on the ice, and after some sustained pressure from the Blues, the B’s forwards couldn’t cover the blue line. Brayden Schenn, top center for St. Louis, collected the loose puck and walked into the slot with more time and space than he would need, burying the top-shelf shot and giving the Blues the early lead in the game.
Boston enjoyed two power plays after that, mustering a couple good chances - including a hit post by Marcus Johansson - but left the frame with no goals on the board and trailing by one.
Vlad Tarasenko was left all alone in front of Tuukka Rask, and he rarely misses from those spots.
Boston returned fire quickly, as Sean Kuraly carried the puck into the attacking zone and found Connor Clifton at the far post.
Another Bruins power play would go scoreless, putting Boston at 0-3. Carl Gunnarsson had high-sticked David Backes and then started checking Backes in the ... back ... while he was hunched over on the ice. Good thing the Bruins didn’t take a matching penalty in retaliation.
After yet another penalty to St. Louis (cue the ref-bias jeers), the Blues’ PK was looking otherworldly, as opposed to Boston passing around a little too much. Just as you thought the B’s PP success had disappeared, Charlie McAvoy waltzed in and fired a bullet past Jordan Binnington.
The Bruins tying the game really started to get to Joel Edmundson, who tried to run through Joakim Nordstrom, Danton Heinen, and Charlie McAvoy. His facewashing didn’t go over well with David Backes, either, setting up what figured to be a loud and heavy third frame.
SEAN KURALY PUTS BOSTON AHEAD!! About five minutes in, he benefited from a great wheeling pass by Noel Acciari to put the puck across the crease. A quick tap from skate to stick and Kuraly didn’t miss.
The period only got saltier as time wound down. Torey Krug and David Perron had a spontaneous wrestling match behind the play. David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk were dishing hits. Krejci and Johansson started making St. Louis look like they were standing still with some of their dirty dangles. As St. Louis fought to get the game even again, scrums regularly had post-whistle activity. A conversation between Krug and Pat Maroon ended with a couple shin-pad checks.
St. Louis used their timeout with just over two minutes to go, and pulled Binnington at that point as well. Marchand collected a puck as the Blues were trying to exit their zone and wheeled it on net, potting the empty-netter. No late heroics from the Blues in this game, and Boston won Game 1 of the Finals!!
Back in action on Wednesday from Boston. We’ll see you there!!