By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Stanley Cup Final is now a best-of-three series, with two games coming at TD Garden. St. Louis earned a much-needed 4-2 victory on Monday night in Game 4, dominating the action for much of the game and limiting the Bruins’ chances on the back end. Jordan Binnington barely had to break a sweat in his latest bounce-back effort.
Perhaps most important for the Bruins right now is the status of Zdeno Chara, who sat out the entire third period and much of the second after taking a puck to the face. He returned to the bench for the third period with a protective shell on the front of his helmet, but didn’t play.
Check below for a recap of our live updates during the game.
Recap: Third Period
— 1:29: Brayden Schenn cuts it off in the neutral zone and fires the puck into the empty net, just 11 seconds after the Bruins pulled Rask. The Blues are going to tie the Stanley Cup Final and set up a pivotal Game 5 in Boston on Thursday night.
— 9:22: The Blues have gone back on top just minutes after a huge penalty kill. Ryan O’Reilly fires home a rebound that Rask could not handle and the Bruins can’t keep him out of the slot. St. Louis is nine minutes away from tying the series.
— 10:08: Blues make a huge penalty kill then generate a few good scoring chances on Rask. The Bruins goalie is able to calm things down by gloving a shot.
— 13:12: Bruins to the power play with a chance to take their first lead of the night. Jay Bouwmeester is whistled for high-sticking.
— 17:52: Bruins back to the penalty kill. Danton Heinen is whistled for tripping against Jaden Schwartz. It looked more like Schwartz took a dive, but here we are.
Recap: Second Period
— Second Period Thoughts: All it took was one miscue by the Blues for the Bruins to knot this game back up. The Blues have dominated the first 40 minutes, faced a Bruins defense minus captain Zdeno Chara for most of the period, and … the B’s won the period 1-0. St. Louis needs to play damn-near perfect hockey just to stay deadlocked with the Bruins. The B’s remain almost entirely the superior team, and if they can withstand one more storm they will give themselves a chance to steal a huge win. But so far, make no mistake, the Blues deserve the W tonight with the way they’re playing. They just might not have enough firepower.
— 5:41: What a turn of events. The Bruins have tied the game 2-2 after a great shorthanded play. Patrice Bergeron’s initial shot ricochets to a streaking Brandon Carlo, who wrists it just off Binnington’s glove and in.
— 6:07: After a long, sustained attack by the Blues, Connor Clifton ends up committing a high-stick penalty. Blues back to the power play with a chance to go back up by two.
— 11:29: Colton Parayko to the box for delay of game. The Bruins’ ultra-dangerous power play is on the ice with a chance to tie the game.
— 12:13: Bruins kill it off. Just one shot on an unimpressive power play for the Blues.
— 14:13: So far, so good for the Blues’ attempt to get more power plays. The first penalty of the game is a high-stick against Charlie Coyle. PK for the Bruins.
— Zdeno Chara took a puck to the mouth after a Brayden Schenn shot attempt deflected off Chara’s stick and ran right up into his face. Chara got busted open on the play so he had to step off. I imagine he’ll be back in a few.
— 17:08: David Backes has replaced the ejected David Krejci at the faceoff dot against Ryan O’Reilly twice, and has won both times.
— 18:29: Great first shift by the Charlie Coyle line, getting sustained zone time and puck possession. Unfortunately it didn’t result in a quality scoring chance. But the forecheck is definitely a good tart. Making simple decisions and keeping the puck as deep as possible.
Recap: First Period
— First Period Thoughts: Regardless of the scoreboard, such an effort should have been expected of the Blues. They know they won’t be able to come back from a 3-1 deficit in this series. This is a must-win game for them and they overpowered the Bruins with some desperate hockey in the opening period. Fortunately Charlie Coyle found the back of the net, or else the 2-0 lead for St. Louis would feel much bigger than it is. But the reality is that the Blues aren’t this fast and the Bruins should be able to surge back and win more puck battles next period. They’ll just have to do it at 5-on-5, it seems. The Blues have had a slight possession advantage in those situations so far in the series and that’s what just played out in the first 20 minutes. Silver lining? The Bruins survived that period without the game getting out of hand. Time to answer.
— 4:30: The Blues answer just over two minutes later. Vladimir Tarasenko is not covered because he just came on to the ice after a line change, and fires it past Rask after the Bruins goalie makes a save on Alex Pietrangelo. A well-timed change and fortuitous bounce for the dynamic Blues winger. The Bruins need to play better net-front defense than they have in this period; it’s burned them on both goals.
— 6:46: Charlie Coyle has made it 1-1. Jordan Binnington stops the first shot by a pinching Zdeno Chara, but can’t corral the rebound. Coyle finds the net-front and bangs home the rebound past a sprawled Binnington to tie it up.
— 9:54: The Bruins are starting to generate some extended zone time. The top three lines have all found some daylight. Unfortunately their best chance was on the stick of Brad Marchand and he decided to go for a cross-ice pass instead of just testing Jordan Binnington with a shot. But it appears that the early storm is starting to die down. The Bruins still need to manage the puck better when they have it if they want to get the equalizer this period.
— 13:07: All Blues in the opening period. Scoring chances 6-1 in their favor so far, and it feels like they’ve spent almost the entire opening 6:53 in the Bruins’ zone. They are playing like a team whose season is on the line, and it’s started with winning puck battles. They are out-skating the Bruins to the loose puck areas and beating them up physically. Unfortunately they couldn’t weather the early storm and surrendered a goal, but it’ll be important not to let it get out of hand. Have to think the Bruins are going to get their legs under them and catch up at some point – the Blues simply aren’t as fast as they look.
— 19:17: Back-against-the-wall performance to start the game for the Blues. They’re on the board already, as Ryan O’Reilly gathers a loose puck after a bounce behind the net and wraps it around the other side. It’s 1-0 Blues and the Bruins now need to chase the lead back.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.