BOSTON — An 11-day layoff appeared to be taking its toll on the Bruins through 21 minutes in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues.
The B’s found themselves down a pair of goals early in the second period, and there undoubtedly was some sloppiness from the Bruins.
Sean Kuraly’s line with Joakim Nordstrom and Noel Acciari (and Chris Wagner before he went down with injury) often is referred to as the “energy line,” and that’s exactly the role they played Monday night, contributing a pair of goals in the Bruins’ 4-2 win.
Kuraly helped get Boston on the board, dishing a dandy of an assist on Connor Clifton’s goal to start the scoring, with Nordstrom also picking up a helper on the play. Acciari then fed Kuraly for the game-winner in the third.
It’s not the first instance of the fourth line lighting a fire this postseason.
“This is what they do. They possess pucks. They can skate, they play simple hockey,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game. “And I think against St. Louis if you play North, especially for us being off as long as we were, we had to not get drawn into that fancy stuff, that East-West stuff.
“At the end of the day, they’re gonna always play a straight-line game,” Cassidy added. “Sometimes they get rewarded sometimes they don’t, but they always play the same way.”
With the Blues built awfully similarl to the Bruins, the production from the fourth line perhaps is a bit more in the limelight this series. And thus far they have answered the bell. Not just offensively, either, Cassidy oft opted for Kuraly’s line in defensive matchups against some of St. Louis’ top forwards rather than Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.
Here are some other notes from Blues-Bruins Game 1:
— Bruce Cassidy would like to see more from his power play unit.
While the Bruins did score on the man advantage, with Charlie McAvoy ripping home a wicked wrist shot to tie the game 2-2 in the second, Boston was 1-for-5 overall.
“I thought it was sloppy tonight in general, our power play,” Cassidy said. “They didn’t execute as well as they normally should. Some of that has to do with the break. I think you lose your edge a bit.”
— Zdeno Chara says he is fine after taking a shot to the wrist late in the third period.
The B’s captain wore a point shot that hit his exposed wrist and caused him to bleed quite a bit.
— Kuraly, McAvoy and Clifton all notched goals in their first career Stanley Cup Final appearance.
— Shots don’t always tell the story of a game, but, well, this was not one of those cases.
The Bruins not only outshot the Blues 38-20, they peppered 30 shots over the last 40 minutes to the Blues’ 12, including an 18-3 shot advantage in the second period.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images