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Tarasenko, Parayko among top performers for Blues in Game 2 of Cup Final

Honor roll, stock watch from St. Louis win against Bruins

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Senior Director of Editorial

Who played well in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final? Sometimes it's easy to tell, sometimes it isn't. NHL.com graded the players in the 3-2 overtime victory by the St. Louis Blues against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Wednesday that tied the best-of-7 series 1-1. Here are the players and trends that stood out the most.

 

[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage]

 

Honor roll

Carl Gunnarsson (Blues) -- Talk about history repeating itself: A No. 4 scored in overtime during a Stanley Cup Final between the Bruins and Blues. Except this time the Blues prevailed on Gunnarsson's goal; Hall of Fame defenseman Bobby Orr scored in Game 4 in 1970 to finish a Boston sweep. Gunnarsson scored through traffic at 3:51 to give the Blues their first Final win in 14 tries. The defenseman nearly scored the go-ahead goal with 2:00 left in the third period when his shot hit the right post.

Video: STL@BOS, Gm2: Gunnarsson wins it for Blues in OT

Vladimir Tarasenko (Blues) -- The right wing has been unstoppable. He tied the game 2-2 at 14:55 of the first period with his fourth goal in as many games. He is one of six players in St. Louis history with a Stanley Cup Playoff goal streak of at least that many games. Tarasenko also has an eight-game point streak dating to Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks. He has 10 points (five goals, five assists) during that streak.

Video: Tarasenko extends point streak in Blues' Game 2 win

Joakim Nordstrom (Bruins) -- The fourth-liner blocked three shots during a penalty kill while defenseman Connor Clifton served a four-minute high-sticking penalty late in the second period. He blocked a shot from Tarasenko and two from Colton Parayko, remaining on the ice until there was a stoppage. He then went to the bench gingerly as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Nordstrom also led Boston with four shots.

Colton Parayko (Blues) -- The defenseman played 27:40, leading all skaters, and had two shots, four hits, two blocked shots and a takeaway.

Tuukka Rask (Bruins) -- The goalie had no chance on the game-winning goal. He was screened, and the Blues had an extra attacker because of a delayed penalty. But Rask was the primary reason the game went to overtime; he was Boston's best player for long stretches. The Bruins were outshot 14-6 in the second period, but Rask did not allow a goal and kept them in the game.

 

Stock watch

Bill Belichick (up) -- The coach of the NFL's New England Patriots was the banner captain for Game 2 and did his job. He had a rare smile as he waved the Bruins flag, sending the crowd into a frenzy. The Patriots are the most recent Boston-area team to win a championship, defeating the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl in February. Belichick and the Patriots also won the first of their six titles against the Rams, who were then in St. Louis, in the 2001 season.

Video: STL@BOS, Gm2: Belichick waves banner to fire up crowd

Bruins top line (down) -- Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak couldn't get much going in Game 2, combining for one point, just as they did in Game 1. Pastrnak had an assist on Charlie Coyle's goal, and the line combined for seven shots, but Bergeron's one-timer off a pass from David Backes in the third period was the only dangerous scoring chance from them. 

Jaden Schwartz (up) -- The Blues forward was a live wire and was dangerous virtually every time he was in the offensive zone. He had a game-high five shots, four hits and two takeaways, and assisted on Tarasenko's goal.

Charlie Coyle (down) -- The Bruins forward scored the first goal of the game but was on the ice for two goals-against: the Blues' first goal, by Robert Bortuzzo at 9:37 of the first period, and the winner by Gunnarsson. 

Blues defensemen (up) -- Like Boston in Game 1 (three points, 10 shots), St. Louis generated plenty of offense from its defensemen. Bortuzzo scored, Gunnarsson had a goal and an assist, and the six defensemen combined for nine shots. They also were hard on the Bruins forwards all night, delivering 14 hits, and helped goalie Jordan Binnington by blocking 10 shots.

Video: Gunnarsson lifts Blues to first-ever Cup Final win

 

What we learned

Bruins must be more accurate

The Bruins missed 12 shots, all before overtime. Defensemen missed seven of the 12, including four by Torey Krug. The opportunities were there for Boston, particularly late in the third period; Krug (two) and Connor Clifton (one) had near misses in the final 5:50.

 

Blues are dictating matchups

The home team can get the matchups it wants with the luxury of the last change, but the Blues were happy with whatever matchups the Bruins tried to force. For much of the game, St. Louis neutralized Boston's top two lines. Things became even more difficult for the Bruins when they lost Matt Grzelcyk to injury in the first period. It will be interesting to see how Blues coach Craig Berube attacks Boston's lines when he has the last change for the next two games.

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