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5 Keys: Blues at Bruins, Game 2

St. Louis must be more disciplined; Boston needs production from top line

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

BLUES at BRUINS

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

Boston leads best-of-7 series 1-0

The Boston Bruins will try to extend their winning streak to nine games and take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final when they play Game 2 against the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden on Wednesday.

Boston hasn't lost since April 30. 

The Bruins came back from two goals down to defeat the Blues 4-2 in Game 1 on Monday, when they held St. Louis to 12 shots on goal in the final two periods, including three in the second.

 

[RELATED: Complete Cup Final coverage]

 

"Once you see the video and see what we actually did and know that we didn't get to our game or play our game at all, it makes us feel confident in the room that we can turn the page, get back to playing the way we can, and hopefully that will lead to a win tonight," Blues center Brayden Schenn said.

Since 1939, when the Cup Final went to a best-of-7 format, teams that have a 2-0 lead have won the Stanley Cup 90.2 percent of the time (46 of 51). However, the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 and the Bruins in 2011 overcame being down 2-0 to win the Stanley Cup.

Here are 5 keys to Game 2:

 

1. A bit better Binnington

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington wasn't the reason St. Louis lost Game 1. He made 34 saves on 37 shots.

However, Binnington blamed himself for not catching the floating wrist shot from Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, a fumble that led to forward Sean Kuraly's goal at 5:21 of the third period that gave Boston a 3-2 lead.

Binnington is 5-2 with a 1.84 goals-against average and .937 save percentage after a loss in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including 2-0 with a .946 save percentage (three goals on 56 shots) against the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final.

"He's a guy who doesn't get rattled, just focuses on the next task," Blues center Tyler Bozak said. "He'll be ready to go."

 

2. Bruins' top line looking for more

Boston's top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak wasn't dangerous in Game 1, and it struggled in its initial matchup against St. Louis' top line of Schenn, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko.

Video: STL@BOS, Gm1: Marchand seals win with empty-net goal

Puck management was the biggest problem, and that's why Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy moved away from that matchup after Pastrnak's turnover led to Tarasenko's goal at 1:00 of the second period. 

Boston's fourth line of Kuraly, Joakim Nordstrom and Noel Acciari took over and shut down St. Louis' top line.

Cassidy said he could go back to Bergeron's line against Schenn's line in Game 2, but he also felt they played better after they got away from the matchup. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out, but the Bruins could use a big night from their big guys.

 

3. Blues' forecheck must be a factor

The Blues rely on their forecheck as a big part of jump-starting their game to create turnovers and generate offense. Their forecheck was almost nonexistent in Game 1, especially in the final two periods. The Bruins instead were able to generate clean breakouts and easy zone entries.

If the Blues want to put the Bruins on their heels and play a punishing game, they have to get their forecheck going early in Game 2.

"The way we play hockey, it's not pretty, it's not flashy," Schenn said. "It's a lot of chip and chasing, grinding and forechecking. That's what we've got to get to tonight."

 

4. Boston's D up in rush

The Bruins recognized in Game 1 that the Blues' were sitting back instead of attacking, and they responded by having their defensemen push up in the rush when the opportunity presented itself. That's how Connor Clifton scored his goal at 2:16 of the second period to make it 2-1.

If the Blues want to play that way again, the Bruins defensemen should again be aggressive.

"We've talked all playoffs long about us setting the pace back there and it starts with our breakouts," Boston defenseman Torey Krug said. "When we're able to be clean out of our zone it allows us to set up that next wave of attack, so it's definitely a key for us."

Video: News and notes ahead of a pivotal Game 2 of the SCF

 

5. Blues need composure, discipline

The Blues can't give the Bruins five power-play opportunities in Game 2 if they want to get even in the series.

"No-brainer," Schenn said. "They've got a good power play, so that's crucial."

Boston's power play was ragged at times in Game 1, but give it five chances, and odds are it will connect. Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy scored on Boston's fourth power play to tie the game 2-2 at 12:41 of the second period.

The Bruins are 32.7 percent on the power play in the playoffs (18-for-55), including 40.0 percent (8-for-20) in the past five games, with at least one power-play goal in each game.

 

Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Sammy Blais -- Ryan O'Reilly -- David Perron

Pat Maroon -- Tyler Bozak -- Robby Fabbri

Ivan Barbashev -- Oskar Sundqvist -- Alexander Steen

Joel Edmundson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester -- Colton Parayko

Carl Gunnarsson -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Michael Del Zotto, Zach Sanford, Mackenzie MacEachern, Chris Thorburn, Ville Husso

Injured: Vince Dunn (upper body), Robert Thomas (undisclosed)

 

Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk -- David Krejci -- David Backes

Marcus Johansson -- Charlie Coyle -- Danton Heinen

Joakim Nordstrom -- Sean Kuraly -- Noel Acciari

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk -- Connor Clifton

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: John Moore, Steven Kampfer, Karson Kuhlman

Injured: Chris Wagner (upper body), Kevan Miller (lower body)

 

Status report 

Thomas will miss his first game of the playoffs. Berube said he decided Tuesday that Thomas wasn't going to play, but his injury is not related to the hit he took from Krug in the third period of Game 1. Thomas has been dealing with an undisclosed injury since the conference final. Fabbri was skating in his place on the third line with Bozak and Maroon in the morning skate, but Berube wouldn't confirm he would be in, saying that will be a game-time decision.

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