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Nordstrom Stepped Up - And In Front

Winger blocked three shots on one penalty kill, scored a goal in Game 2 loss

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - Just over two weeks ago, Joakim Nordstrom was only a few feet away as linemate Chris Wagner put his body on the line and stepped in front of a Justin Faulk slap shot during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final in Carolina.

The sacrifice may have cost Wagner his season, as the blistering clapper drilled the winger in the right forearm, causing him to retreat to the bench in excruciating pain. While the Bruins have not completely ruled out a return for Wagner during the Stanley Cup Final, he has yet to resume skating.

With that image of his fourth-line running mate writhing in pain fresh in his memory, it would have been understandable if Nordstrom opted to usher his body away from any flying rubber on Thursday night.

But then again, he is a hockey player.

Nordstrom did anything but steer clear of harm's way during a third-period penalty kill in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Instead, the 27-year-old winger planted himself in a shooting lane and twice - within seconds of each other - blocked away Colton Parayko slappers, once with the inside of his left skate and another with the side of his right leg.

The Stockholm native, clearly a bit hobbled, finished the shift with by deflecting away Vladimir Tarasenko's shot with his stick, before returning to the Bruins' bench as the TD Garden crowd displayed its appreciation with a standing ovation.

"The crowd this time of the year - any time of the year - gets into the details, especially in Boston," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "They're blue collar, they appreciate the little things. Nordy's been giving us that."

Video: STL@BOS, Gm2: Nordstrom blocks three shots in 2nd

Nordstrom's teammates were also on their feet as he made his way back to the Boston bench.

"After the first block, obviously guys are pumped, excited, but then a couple seconds later he makes another block," said David Krejci. "The whole bench stood up. It was a pretty cool moment. From that point, every single guy on the bench wanted to chip in defensively, offensively, just do whatever they can to help the team. It was an inspiration to our team for sure."

Some 12 hours later, Nordstrom was no worse for wear.

"First of all, I feel pretty good," Nordstrom said while addressing the media at Warrior Ice Arena on Thursday morning. "Obviously you get maybe a bruise or so, but nothing more than that. Just trying to keep the puck out of the net. Was lucky to be in the right spot there twice."

The blocks - he had a game-high five on the night - were just a portion of his stellar Game 2 performance. Nordstrom also contributed offensively, notching his third goal of the postseason as Boston's fourth line once again delivered.

With the game - an eventual 3-2 overtime loss - tied at 1 midway through the first period, Nordstrom took a Sean Kuraly feed from behind the net and buried a backhander by Blues goalie Jordan Binnington.

"He's been terrific the whole playoffs," said Cassidy. "That fourth line has given us lots of energy. They're contributing offense now. Always been good on the penalty kill, always willing to sacrifice their body, whether it's for the forecheck, for getting pucks out.

"Noel [Acciari] is the more physical one. Nordy has been a big shot blocker all year, big part of our PK. A big boost…a big reason why we are where we are right now is that line as a whole has really delivered for us."

Video: STL@BOS, Gm2: Nordstrom goes five-hole on Binnington

As Cassidy pointed out, Nordstrom's goal was just a continuation of the fourth line's stellar play through this postseason run, especially over the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final, during which Boston's energy trio has chipped in three goals.

In the Bruins' Game 1 victory, it was Kuraly setting up Connor Clifton to get the Black & Gold on the board, before the center buried the winner - off a feed from Acciari - midway through the third period.

"Been getting some bounces here lately, our line," said Nordstrom. "We're just trying to not change much, the way we play. The way we've been playing has been working for us. That's why we're getting chances and it's been nice to see them go in here lately.

"I think just being relentless on the forecheck, winning battles and getting to those second and third opportunities. It's been working well for us."

Despite the Bruins' loss in Game 2, Nordstrom is confident that the group will rebound as the Cup Final shifts to St. Louis.

"Of course you want to win every game," said Nordstrom. "But if you think you're gonna sweep every team or the games that are left, I think you may be in a fantasy world. We're playing a really good hockey team. We didn't win [Wednesday] night, we might lose another game. But we've just got to focus on the next game here.

"You never want to be too high, you never want to be too low. If you win one game, it doesn't mean you win a series. If you lose one game, it doesn't mean you lose three. Just got to refocus and get back and focus on next game."

Video: Nordy discusses blocks in Game 2

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