With 10 days off since sweeping the Hurricanes, many wondered how long it would take the Bruins to shake off any rust. The answer was a single period.
St. Louis had a 2–0 lead early in the second period, but the Bruins took over from there, unleashing four straight goals for a 4–2 Game 1 win in the Stanley Cup Final. The Blues took advantage of a slow start from the Bruins, with Brayden Schenn striking midway through the first and Vladimir Tarasenko doubling the lead a minute into the second period. But Boston didn’t waste much time responding with Connor Clifton deflecting a pass from Sean Kuraly to get the Bruins on the board 1:16 later.
The Blues had a pretty solid penalty kill heading into this series, but they were playing with fire when they took five penalties, giving Boston’s lethal power play plenty of opportunities. It would be the fourth penalty that would prove most costly. When Oskar Sundqvist was called for cross-checking Clifton, the Bruins came out firing on the man-advantage and Charlie McAvoy evened things up when his shot deflected off a Blues player’s stick and past Binnington.
Once Clifton jump-started things, it was all Boston from there. In fact, the Blues didn’t get a shot on net in the final 8:16 of the second period, and the next didn’t come until 4:33 into the third, but Boston had a stranglehold on the momentum by then. The Bruins took the lead 5:21 into the final frame when Kuraly kicked the puck up to his stick and jammed it past Jordan Binnington. Both teams put their fourth lines out to start the game, which should have been a sign of what was to come, as Boston’s fourth line was responsible for two of Boston’s goals with Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom assisting on Clifton’s goal.
St. Louis pulled Binnington with 2:12 left, but Brad Marchand notched the empty-netter with 1:49 left. Binnington was back on the bench after that in a last-ditch effort, but the biggest play to come out of the final seconds was Zdeno Chara taking a shot off his wrist in an unprotected spot. Chara—who missed Game 4 in the Eastern Conference Final with an injury—skated off with blood dripping from his arm, but told reporters after the game that he got a couple of stitches and was fine.
The game was physical from the start, with St. Louis's highly touted forecheck dominating the pace of the opening period. But Boston matched that physicality, which ultimatley culminated in the form of a monster hit from Torey Krug in the third period. After battling David Perron on one end of the ice (and losing his helmet in the process), Krug skated full speed to the other end and bulldozed straight into Blues rookie Robert Thomas.
Boston has now won eight straight games in these playoffs, outscoring opponents 32–11 in that span. Game 2 is Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, when St. Louis will look to win its first-ever Stanley Cup Final game.