In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Boston Bruins defeated the Saint Louis Blues on their home ice 5-1 thanks to another outstanding game by goalie Tuukka Rask. The Bruins won Game 6 to even the series to 3-3.
The series returns to Boston for Game 7 with the Bruins having a shot to hoist the Stanley Cup on their own ice.
The Blues won Game 5 on a controversial tripping no-call that led to a goal. The Blues wasted a chance to win the cup in St. Louis. Craig Berube’s squad had the Bruins on the ropes, but could not go in for the kill.
“We’re fighting for our lives obviously,” said Bruins winger Brad Marchand. “When you play desperate, I think you see everyone’s best game.”
Weathering the Storm
The Bruins killed an early penalty and avoided another quickie score from the Blues.
“We killed that penalty in the first period,” said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. “That’s huge. Last time we were here, they scored 30 seconds in. Obviously, you don’t want that to happen again. We weathered the storm pretty good and then got the lead. It was a great start.”
They Bruins scored first midway through the first period. Brad Marchand scored his ninth goal of the playoffs and his second of the Finals with a power play goal.
Both teams went scoreless in the second period during another battle of stingy goalies. Aside from the power play goal, Blues goalie Jordan Binnington looked strong in net. Meanwhile, across the ice, the ever cool and collected Tuukka Rask had yet to allow a goal.
All hell broke loose in the third period. The Bruins scored four goals and the wheels came off the bus for the Blues.
Brandon Carlo scored 2:30 into the third period to put the Bruins up 2-0. Karson Kuhlman score his first goal of the postseason midway to put the Bruins ahead 3-1.
The Blues finally got on the board when Ryan O’Reilly slipped the puck by Rask. O’Reilly tallied his fourth goal in the previous three games. That would be the lone goal of the game for the Blues as they cut the lead to 3-1.
The Bruins added two more goals to seal the game. David Pastrnak scored his ninth goal of the playoffs and a gutsy Zdeno Chara, playing with a broken jaw, scored with approximately two minutes remaining to push the score to 5-1.
There’s a joke going around that “Tuukka” in Finnish means “stonewall”. Rask looked superb once again allowing just one goal with 28 saves. He stepped up in another elimination game to help the Bruins avoid a bustout.
In the three elimination games in this postseason, Rask allowed just four goals with a 95.3 save percentage.
“He’s been a big reason why we’re in this position,” said teammate Patrice Bergeron. “He was definitely in the zone.”
“Tuukka just steps up when it matters,” added defenseman Charlie McAvoy. “We have all the faith in the world in him, and to see him play the way that he did, it’s really not a surprise to us.”
In the postseason, Rask is saving 93.8 percent of shots on goal. He won a Cup with Boston back in 2011 as a backup. He now has a chance to win the Cup as the primary netminder.
On Deck: Game 7
Do or die for the Stanley Cup. The Bruins are seeking their second win since 2011. The Blues have never won the Cup.
“Listen, if you told me four months ago we were going to be in the finals in Game 7, I think I’d take it,” said Blues head coach Craig Berube. “We’ve been a good road team. We’ve won twice up there in this series, so we’re a confident group.”
But can the Blues scored more than a goal or two against sensational Tuukka Rask?
According to the consensus at books in Las Vegas, the Boston Bruins are -170 on the moneyline to win Game 7 and secure the Stanley Cup. The Blues are +150 dogs on the road.