Boston, MA– Whenever a conference championship ends in a sweep, the people in charge of caring about the ratings for marquee sports matchups, and the people in charge of the sports leagues themselves, begin to sweat. The sooner the post-season rounds end, the less chance at monster ratings they get and the more they hope for the other series to go seven games so there is not a major gap between games in the playoffs. This year, the NHL fell victim to a classic gap between matches.
The Boston Bruins finished their Eastern Conference Championship sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes on May 16. They did not play again until May 27, when the St. Louis Blues traveled to Boston for the first game of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. The Blues got out to a hot start, but eventually, Tuukka Rask took control of the defense and Boston lit up the ice with a string of impressive, aggressive offense. In the end, Boston came away with a 4-2 victory and a one game to zero lead.
Tuukka Rask recorded 18 saves during the game, which is a pretty small sample, but he was absolutely lights out after the Blues jumped to an early 2-0 lead off of goals from Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko. The Bruins' offense was lackluster until a helmetless Torey Krug delivered a monster, momentum-shifting hit on David Perron. It immediately became an iconic Bruins moment!
The team's offense matched Krug's intensity as they delivered four unanswered goals to close out the game from Connor Clifton, Charlie McAvoy (on a power play), Sean Kuraly, and Brad Marchand. Kuraly also recorded an assist, while McAvoy and Marchand scored their goals unassisted. Marchand's late goal gave Boston the final tally of a 4-2 win.
Game two will again be at home for the Bruins tonight, and they will look to take a commanding two games to zero lead over St. Louis, but the Blues will not roll over. Boston will have to fight every minute of every game. They are definitely ready for that, though.