With key fourth-line forward and noted penalty killer Ivan Barbashev suspended for game six, Blues fans could be excused for being concerned. After Oskar Sundqvist had to sit game three out, the Blues were down 2-1 in the series on the tail of a mortifying 7-2 home defeat. The fact that having a fourth-liner out is so disruptive to a team is a sign of the Blues’ strength on that line, especially as penalty killers and neutralizers of the Bruins’ Perfection Line, who has done jack squat 5-on-5 all series long. Having Barbashev sit has the potential to be just as rattling to the Blues as having Sundqvist sit, even with the addition of perfectly cromulent forward Robby Fabbri into the mix.
Blues fans should be able to breathe a little easier, though. Today in the morning skate, these were the lines:
#stlblues practice lines:— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) June 8, 2019
* Tarasenko (wife had a baby yesterday) and Steen not skating
Look closely. You should see a name there that should make you very happy.
With as well as Zach Sanford has been playing since filling in for Sundqvist in game three he has three assists and is a +4. One of those assists was this beautiful between the legs pass to Ryan O’Reilly to start the scoring in game five:
Steen and Tarasenko are just taking days off and playing tomorrow night, so the Blues basically have a full roster. The Bruins? Matt Grzelcyk is still in concussion protocol, and Zdeno Chara can’t eat, which is certainly less than ideal. Noel Acciari appeared to hit his head on the ice as part of Bozak’s trip. Hopefully that did not result in an injury.
The Bruins look tired and their coach keeps stretching for someone - anyone! - but themselves to blame. Robert Thomas is returning at just the right time.