The NHL Department of Player of Safety suspended St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals after a cheap hit on Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk during Game 2.
Sundqvist boarded Grzelcyk with two minutes remaining in the first period of Game 2 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston. Grzelcyk required assistance off the ice.
The St. Louis Blues went on to win 3-2 in overtime to tie the series at 1-1. Carl Gunnarsson scored in overtime to lift the Blues to a win.
Grzelcyk did not travel with the Bruins to St. Louis for Game 3 and listed as “day to day”. He is also under concussion protocol and will not return to the ice until he clears it. Through 19 postseason games, Grzelcyk scored three goals and added 4 assists.
Sundqvist played center on the Blues fourth line. He scored 14 goals in the regular season with 31 total points. He scored four times in the postseason this year with nine total points.
“Sundqvist has always been a very good defensive player, a penalty killer for us, a hard-working guy,” said Blues coach Craig Berube. “But his offensive side has really come through this year. He scored quite a few goals during the regular season and he’s gotten four in the playoffs here. He’s playing a real good 200-foot game and we’ve kind of used him in all different situations.”
Berube rolled the dice and matched up the “checking line” with the Bruins top line consisting of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. The gamble paid off in the second game with a win.
“He’s a big part of our team,” said Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo. “He plays big minutes night in and night out and in every situation.”
However, Berbue will be without a center for Game 3 after Sundqvist getting suspended. The Blues are already shorthanded after losing forward Robert Thomas and defenseman Vince Dunn to injuries.
“I know they’re trying to get those hits out of the game,” said Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy.
The Blues host their first Cup Finals game since 1970. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins are 6-2 on the road in the playoffs this year.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Boston Bruins are -160 odds to win the Stanley Cup. The Blues are +135.