Monday night’s Game 1 was a little bit weird. While the Blues were far from dominant, they at one point found themselves with a 2-0 lead, not a bad place to find yourself in the first game of the Stanley Cup Final.
In the Columbus series, those gifts were turnovers and power plays; last night, it was more of the former than the latter.
The Blues' 2 goals came off of turnovers, one caused by good St. Louis pressure and the other just a complete gift on a mix-up between David Pastrnak and Zdeno Chara.
Other than that, do you remember the Blues doing much of anything on offense? Aside from a rush or two by Vladimir Tarasenko, the Blues spent most of this game huddled in their own end.
It was in the second period that the Bruins decided they were going to simply run over St. Louis.
Per Natural Stat Trick, the Bruins were credited with 21 5v5 shot attempts in the middle period; the Blues had just 28 in the entire game.
The Blues were credited with 4 high-danger chances last night, while the Bruins had 6 in the second period alone (10 total).
If you look at the 5v5 heat map from Natural Stat Trick, it looks like the Blues just kind of took this game off:
To put it simply, the Bruins steamrolled the Blues for long stretches of this game, and St. Louis couldn't get anything done on offense if the Bruins didn't give it to them first.
The Blues made the shot-attempt chart a little more respectable with their late-game push, but it was little more than window dressing.
From a Bruins perspective, it was quite impressive: the team got going, and then never really stopped.
So what happened? It's hard to say, exactly. The Blues took some silly penalties, which certainly didn't help. They got a bit careless with the puck as well, and the Bruins capitalized.
However, there were times where things seemed to be going okay for the Blues, and then the Bruins would just impose their will and keep going.
Multiple rushes by Marcus Johansson come to mind, as do a few good puck battles by Charlie Coyle and some deft passes from David Krejci.
If you're the Blues, you wake up this morning looking to get the number of the truck that ran you over.
Still, the Bruins weren't invincible, and probably shouldn't get too cocky. After all, they were in a bad spot for a while, and shouldn't make a habit of going down by 2 goals.
For the Blues, they need to do a better job of establishing their forecheck. Their limited chances in Game 1 came off of good pressure on the puck and good work along the boards.
If you're a Bruins fan, you're thrilled by what you saw last night, even more so when you realize that the entire first line was pretty much awful for long stretches.
St. Louis hopes this was a Game 1 surge. The Bruins hope this was permanent rust removal.
The truth is likely somewhere in between, but last night revealed an encouraging sign for the Bruins and their fans: once they get going, there's really no stopping them.