Tonight’s game seven is it. Winner take all. Lose and go home.
I don’t even know what to say at this point. We all know the stats. Jordan Binnington is 7-2 after a loss. His GAA is microscopic. The Blues play significantly better on the road during the post-season, where they’re 9-3. The pressures of game three resulted in a blowout, and the pressures of having nearly (by some estimates) 40K people in downtown St. Louis Sunday night resulted in the wheels falling off the Blues Bus in the third period.
Stupid, avoidable penalties will be the death of the Blues against this sharp Bruins team. Tonight’s game seven officiating crew are led by Gord Dwyer and Chris Rooney, and they’ve both been good about letting teams play while at the same time calling what clearly needs to be called. If the Blues don’t play stupid, if they don’t hit like Brayden Schenn did Sunday, they’ll limit the Bruins’ chances five on five. And let’s admit it, the Blues are the better team five on five.
The Bruins are getting some reinforcements back tonight:
Cassidy: Grzelcyk has been cleared. He will be a gametime decision, but looks like he will be in. Clifton likely out.— Amalie Benjamin (@AmalieBenjamin) June 12, 2019
That should be a huge emotional boost to the team. The Blues will be getting Ivan Barbashev back on the fourth line, so that should go a long way to neutralizing the Bruins at even strength.
The Blues’ power play rattled off 12 shots in four chances Sunday, but couldn’t convert. They’ve been abysmal all series long, but if they can continue whatever they were doing this weekend, perhaps a goal can sneak by Conn Smythe candidate Tuukka Rask, who has been outstanding all playoffs long.
Hockey’s a game of inches. Doing everything you can in a game seven to make sure that those inches fall on your side is key. Sure, we’ve heard about how all of the players have the typical game seven little kid hero fantasy in their brains, but it’s about so much more than that.
Play smart, ignore antics designed to goad, be heavy, and you win. If the Blues set up shop in front of Rask like they did last Thursday, their odds of lifting the Cup tonight are much, much higher.