Who played well in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final? Sometimes it's easy to tell, sometimes it isn't. NHL.com graded the players in the 4-2 victory by the St. Louis Blues against the Boston Bruins at Enterprise Center on Monday that tied the best-of-7 series. Here are the players and trends that stood out the most.
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Vladimir Tarasenko (Blues) -- The forward scored his 11th goal of the playoffs, at 15:30 of the first period, and has a goal in six of his past eight games and points in nine of 10. He needs two goals to tie Brett Hull for the Blues' single-playoff record set in 1990, and to tie Bernie Federko for the second most playoff goals in Blues history (35).
Video: BOS@STL, Gm4: Tarasenko buries rebound from the slot
Ryan O'Reilly (Blues) -- The center scored the opening goal 43 seconds into the first period on a wraparound, and scored the winner at 10:38 of the third period when he plucked a rebound off the shoulder of goalie Tuukka Rask and snapped it into the net in one fluid motion. O'Reilly has 18 points (five goals, 13 assists), tied for the team lead with forward Jaden Schwartz.
Video: BOS@STL, Gm4: O'Reilly beats Rask for second tally
Charlie Coyle (Bruins) -- The third-line center scored for the third straight game, his goal at 13:14 of the first period tying it at 1-1. He is the third player in as many seasons to score in three straight games during the Stanley Cup Final, joining Devante Smith-Pelly of the Washington Capitals last season and Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017. Coyle has nine goals this postseason, tied for the team lead with Patrice Bergeron.
Alex Pietrangelo (Blues) -- The defenseman was a beast all night and it was his rising shot from the left wall that handcuffed Rask and allowed O'Reilly to get the rebound for the winning goal. Pietrangelo's point shot also led to the goal by Tarasenko that made it 2-1. Pietrangelo played 29:37, was a plus-3, had five shots on goal and seven attempts, as well as three takeaways.
Vince Dunn (Blues) -- The defenseman was noticeable throughout in his first game back in the lineup after missing the past six games with an upper-body injury sustained against the San Jose Sharks on May 15. He had an assist on O'Reilly's first-period goal, had three shots and nine shot attempts in 12:57.
Brett Hull (up) -- Hull, who scored 527 goals in 744 regular-season games for the Blues, had the crowd roaring its approval as he swaggered onto the ice to lead a "Let's Go Blues" chant. It was the highlight of another spectacular pre-game show in St. Louis.
Video: BOS@STL, Gm4: Brett Hull leads "Let's Go Blues" chant
Brandon Carlo (up) -- He scored the first shorthanded goal by a defenseman in the Stanley Cup Final since Scott Niedermayer of the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the 2000 Final. It has been done 19 times since the NHL started tracking the stat during the 1993-94 season. Carlo was also the 20th player on the roster to score a goal this postseason, a Bruins record.
Video: BOS@STL, Gm4: Carlo evens score while shorthanded
Blues power play (down) -- Not only did St. Louis go 0-for-3 with the man-advantage, but it allowed the tying goal, by Carlo, during a penalty to Boston's Connor Clifton in the second period. With Clifton in the box and Zdeno Chara in the dressing room injured, the Bruins had four defensemen available to kill the penalty and were coming off a shift that had trapped four of their players in the defensive zone for more than two minutes each. A perfect scenario turned into a nightmare for the Blues, who are 1-for-13 on the power play this series.
Blues discipline (up) -- St. Louis delivered 44 hits in Game 4, but took one penalty of aggression, a high-sticking infraction behind the play by Jay Bouwmeester in the third period. The Blues also were assessed a delay of game penalty in the second period and Bouwmeester took a coincidental minor with 26 seconds remaining in the game.
Boston's fourth line (down) -- After being a real difference-maker in the first three games, the line of Sean Kuraly, Noel Acciari and Joakim Nordstrom struggled in this game. Kuraly won one of 12 face-offs (eight percent) and each finished minus-1. Kuraly did not have a shot and the other two had one each.
What we learned
Bruins need to be better around their net
The first three goals by the Blues were the result of breakdowns in front of Rask. On the first one, O'Reilly was able to beat the defense to the far post on a wraparound and tuck the puck in before Rask could get his skate there. On the second, Tarasenko was the first one to the rebound of a point shot by Pietrangelo, and O'Reilly pounced on a rebound of a high shot from Pietrangelo for the winner.
Blues are gaining physical momentum
St. Louis had 44 hits in Game 4 and have delivered 162 (40.5 per game) in the series, punishing the Bruins defenders on the forecheck and the forwards in the neutral zone. The physicality has caused Boston's breakout to become bogged down and has created chaos in the Bruins end when the Blues get on the cycle. The Bruins will have to find a way to counter the punishing forecheck in Game 5.
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