Not often does a battle between the two best teams remaining in the National Hockey League finish with a score of 7-2 in favor of the road squad. But that’s exactly what happened when the Boston Bruins put forward a special teams clinic against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.
Typically with a result so one-sided, not much criticism comes from the winning club.
However, Brad Marchand certainly was not boasting about the group’s performance after the game.
Obviously, nobody expected Marchand to go on about how well the team played, but claiming they could be better is quite the proposition after winning by 5 in the Stanley Cup Final.
He’s not wrong, though. The Bruins were solid, but they could’ve played much better, which is kind of ridiculous to think about.
At even strength, Boston only had 5 skaters who owned a positive shot-share. St. Louis, on the other hand, had 13 players. That’s a pretty good indicator that the Blues were the ones controlling the pace when both sides were evenly manned.
Another way the the Bruins could’ve been better was with their net-front defense. Here’s a look at the shot chart for both teams from Saturday night’s contest:
Just look at all of those juicy attempts Bluenote shooters had from right in the slot.
For as much credit as Boston’s depth and special teams gets, there’s no denying that Tuukka Rask completely outplayed Jordan Binnington in Game 3, and that had a massive impact on the outcome.
However, the unflattering shot rate and increasingly dangerous shot attempts allowed had a bit to do with game flow. St. Louis trailed 3-0 after the first period and was much more desperate to generate offense and put pucks on net than it’s opponents.
Still, the Bruins will have to be much more careful when nursing a lead. Allowing the opposing team to dominate the play at even strength is a really sound way to hand over a game.
So no, Marchand isn’t crazy, he’s right: The Bruins can be better.