The Blues have a new narrative this post-season. Before, it was about them being the scrappy comeback kids of the Western Conference. They were the team that overcame all of the adversity and all of the odds. They were the ones who started from the bottom.
Now, the narrative is an unfortunate one of their own creating: shooting themselves in the foot.
Penalties have been an issue the entire series after being generally a non-factor in every series before. When asked today during media availability about this issue, two thirds of the team’s top line was contrite. Brayden Schenn just put fixing the issue as “just worry[ing] about playing hockey, not that other stuff.”
But the response of “we put ourselves in a tough situation after the first” that Colton Parayko gives is an understatement. They put themselves in a tough situation during the first and continued putting themselves into that situation throughout the game. David Perron’s interference penalty on Brandon Carlo and the resulting goal from Patrice Bergeron sucked the energy right out of Enterprise Center.
It’s important to note that Parayko doesn’t give the Bruins any credit for what’s going on. He’s very clear that both teams are “playing hard,” and apparently this is what’s causing the Blues to overthink and underthink at the same time.
Schenn ducked a question asking if the officials are calling stuff differently this round and it seemed to be encouraged by the gentleman who was running the show, and that’s fine. Despite what some people may think, the officials aren’t targeting the Blues. They’ve been pretty equally bad both ways at times this series. The Blues are targeting themselves. They can’t blame the refs for poor life choices during the game and after the whistle.
Tarasenko felt like there wasn’t any room for “fancy plays” last night and that the top line - and by proxy the rest of the team - needed to focus on being there for each other and working hard. Some of the Blues’ best goals this post-season, including Tarasenko’s in game two, did not come from pretty plays. They came from pressure and staying on the puck, especially around the crease. Last night, the Bruins didn’t give them much room for error, or to get set up. Gaining momentum, limiting penalties, and limiting Bruins’ goals are all connected, and one of those three things is the keystone to good play. It’s up to the Blues to encourage everyone to get on board. That’s part of, as Schenn put it, “flip[ping] the page” on a rough loss.