On Wednesday night the Boston Bruins ventured to St. Louis to face the best defensive team in the NHL in dire need of a victory. Fresh off the heels of two-game losing streak and a streak that’s seen them go 7-9-1 over their last 17 games, the Black and Gold took on the surprisingly resurgent Blues in a crucial contest on Wednesday evening.
In a first frame that saw some surprisingly entertaining hockey from two defense-first teams, we saw five goals scored as the Bruins took a 3-2 lead into the first intermission. Boston jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on goals from Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic. Marchand’s tally was good for his 20th of the year, as he becomes only the third member of the B’s to accomplish that feat this season (Lucic, Seguin).
Unfortunately for the B’s, things would turn sour quickly for Boston as the Blues would knot the score less than six minutes after the Bruins took a 2-0 lead. Both goals (Chris Stewart and Ryan Reaves) were a result of hard work on the forecheck by St. Louis that caused defensive breakdowns in front of Tim Thomas. Luckily, with less than a minute to play in the frame Boston was able to grab the lead once again as Lucic used some tough forechecking of his own to force a turnover and find a wide open Chris Kelly in front for his 15th goal of the season.
The second frame showcased much more of what we expected from these two defensive stalwarts. Posting only 17 combined shots, the two squads played a full twenty minutes of scoreless hockey.
As we entered the third period, play continued much as it did in the second as both teams fought to gain traction and sustain any sort of lengthy offensive possession. Midway through the final frame, Marchand took a beautiful outlet feed from Tyler Seguin and beat Blues’ goaltender Brian Elliott with a brilliant move to the backhand on a breakaway. The goal provided Boston with some solid insurance as they held the Blues off the board for the remainder of the game to secure a 4-2 victory. In the process, the B’s avoided dropping their third straight game as they became the first visiting team to win a game at the Scottrade Center since December.
A win like tonight’s could prove to be a turning point in the season for the B’s, but only if they’re able to build on it and turn it into future success as they continue on their six-game road trip.
Ben’s Three Stars:
1) Brad Marchand (2G/0A , +2 Rating)
2) Milan Lucic (1G/1A, +2 Rating)
3) Chris Kelly (1G/1A, +2 Rating)
– Up next for the B’s will be two divisional foes as they conclude their lengthy road trip with games in Buffalo and Ottawa on Friday and Saturday. The Blues have a quick turnaround as they will take on the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on Thursday evening.
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Contributor to the New England Hockey Journal. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.