The 2019 Stanley Cup Final has been all it’s cracked up to be. There has been a balanced mix of heaviness and speed, leading to hard-earned goals. As the series heads back to Boston, the Bruins will look to bounce back after a disappointing Game 4 loss.
The Bruins bounced back from a rough Game 2 loss earlier in the series, and they are hoping to do that again. The Bruins, who struggled to exit the zone in Game 4, leave us with very little picture of what the back-end will look like.
Zdeno Chara is likely out with a broken jaw, but Joe McDonald of The Athletic thinks he’ll play. Matt Grzelcyk, who practiced in a non-contact jersey Wednesday, is more likely to play.
The game will start a little after 8:00 PM on NBC.
Ryan O’Reilly’s Usage:
As one of the best two-way centers in the NHL, Ryan O’Reilly generally plays against the opponent’s top lines on a nightly basis. However, as Micah Blake McCurdy points out, that’s not what Craig Berube decided to do in Game 4.
This is unusual because the Blues all season used ROR as their primary centre vs top lines, which makes great use of his defensive strength. Choosing to create a mismatch for him offensively is newer. https://t.co/WFAexaiPnp— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) June 4, 2019
In Game 2, the last time the Bruins had home ice, Cassidy matched the Sean Kuraly line against O’Reilly. Perhaps Cassidy may change that up after O’Reilly’s Game 4 performance.
Penetrating the slot:
Like the Bruins, the Blues are one of the best defensive teams in the NHL. They finished 4th in the regular season in 5v5 shot attempts allowed per hour, and 3rd in expected goals. The structure of the Blues is hard to break, and the Bruins have been using the perimeter to penetrate the slot.
Mid-danger shots have been almost nonexistent for the Bruins in this series. This may be the cause of some of the volatility we’ve seen. There is room for the Bruins to be better off of the rush, which could help them create even more offense.
Vince Dunn was added back into the lineup in Game 4 for the Blues and had a monster game. He’s similar to Torey Krug in that he is a terrific offensive player with some concerns defensively. Berube gave Dunn radical offensive usage, and he delivered.
The young defenseman was only on the ice for one shot against at even strength in 13 minutes. Will Berube be able to create the same advantage on the road in Boston?