Blues hope to bounce back
The St Louis Blues will be hoping to bounce back in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins, which takes place at the TD Garden on Wednesday.
The Bruins went into the series as the favourites with sports betting companies, and despite a strong start by St Louis, they were unable to take advantage of their opponents’ rustiness. Boston had a ten-day lay-off ahead of the game following their victory over Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals, but they ultimately prevailed 4-2 after trailing 2-0 early in the second period.
However, the Blues will draw confidence from the fact that they have mounted strong comebacks before. They lost the opening game of the Western Conference Finals 6-3 to the San Jose Sharks, but they came back strong in Game Two to record a convincing 4-2 win and went on to win the series 4-2.
They certainly have much to improve on from Game One. Having opened a 2-0 lead, they let Boston back into the game and struggled to create many scoring chances against the Boston goalkeeper Tuukka Rask. In fact, they were outshot by 38-20 in the overall game and by 30-12 in the second two periods. They were outshot by 18-3 during the second period alone, during which Boston mounted their strong comeback. Against the playoff-leading Rask, who has a 1.85 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage, the Blues will need to find ways to put him under pressure, as forward Vladimir Tarasenko acknowledged in his comments to the press on Tuesday.
"We have to get more shots but create some traffic. He's a good goalie and we need to create some second chances and make his life uncomfortable to go in the hard areas, create some traffic. Obviously, the number of shots we got last game is not enough," he said.
Some of the credit for that low shot count goes to the Bruins, who made it tough for their opponents to break out of the defensive zone and forced repeated turnovers through their forecheck. The Blues also need to find a way to unpick the Boston defensive system, which makes it hard for their opponents to generate momentum. However, they will draw confidence from the opening period of Game One, when they forced the pace and gained an early lead. More of that early momentum will be required if they are to level the series on Wednesday.
Words: Danielle Nixon