The early advantage went to the Blues. A good 30 seconds of zone time followed by a great clear put Boston on their heels early. The Blues were absolutely looking for any and every edge under which to pry, and the refs let it all go.
Boston, however, was very much the more creative team to start the game. Only a few minutes in, smart passes - most crisply from Matt Grzelcyk, returning from concussion - and some solid offensive zone possession from Noel Acciari, Joakim Nordstrom and Sean Kuraly (with a bit of Brad Marchand sprinkled in) hemmed he Blues back for a good chunk of the first half of the period.
A power play for Boston yielded little more than hope, as Torey Krug was able to keep the puck in the attacking zone just one time too few. Great cycle and hard shots from the perimeter made it on net but Binnington was able to track them well.
After Boston seemed to be controlling play through the first fifteen minutes, it was St. Louis that was able to set up an offensive zone hold and get a deflected shot past Tuukka Rask. Ryan O’Reilly got the tip off of Jay Bouwmeester’s point shot.
With very few seconds left in the second, Alex Pietrangelo took advantage of Marchand trying to play defense and failing.
Rough first period was ROUGH.
Boston started strong, though couldn’t convert on their early chances. It looked as though they started a fresh first period without warming up.
The Blues had some quality chances just past the five-minute mark and Tuukka kept the door closed. They also missed high and wide twice on shots that might’ve snuck over one of his shoulders, but luck was favoring Boston to start the period.
Though the push was strong, the Bruins could just not find a corner, a chip, a sneaky shot to save their Cup quest. With under ten minutes to go, St. Louis put another one behind Rask off the rush. No zone time, no wearing down, just worn out. If that third goal was the nail in the coffin, the fourth was the last shovel of dirt. A late goal from Matt Grzelcyk wound up the Garden one more time, and the faithful that were still in the building cheered one more time.