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Stanley Cup Final

Blues lament sloppy play in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final

Point to penalties, turnovers as reasons for blowing two-goal lead against Bruins

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON -- The St. Louis Blues felt they had no one to blame but themselves after a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on Monday.

After they took a 2-0 lead 1:00 into the second period, repeated trips to the penalty box and repeated turnovers against the Bruins forecheck made for a frustrating final 39 minutes. As a result, they fell behind in the best-of-7 series, which continues with Game 2 at Boston on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"It was more us," St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "I think we got away from our game. We got spread out, allowed them to play the way they wanted to through the neutral zone."

 

[RELATED: Complete Bruins vs. Blues series coverage]

 

The Blues appeared in control when they converted a turnover by Bruins forward David Pastrnak into a goal from Vladimir Tarasenko that made it 2-0 at 1:00 of the second. But Boston answered with a goal from defenseman Connor Clifton on a 3-on-2 rush 1:16 later to pull within 2-1 and put St. Louis on its heels after that.

The Bruins outshot the Blues 18-3 in the second period and 30-12 in the second and third. The shot attempts were 29-7 for Boston in the second.

"We were fine and we were playing," St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. "They went down on that partial 3-on-2 and off the skate and in the net. Obviously, gave them momentum, and I thought they were the better team after that."

Video: Evaluating Binnington's performance in Game 1 loss

The Blues did not help their cause by giving the Bruins four straight power plays bridging the first and second periods. They talked before the series about the importance of staying out of the penalty box against the Bruins power play, which was an NHL-best 34.0 percent (17-for-50) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs entering the night and went 7-for-15 during a four-game sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final.

St. Louis was able to kill off the first three power plays, but Boston cashed in on the fourth -- after Oskar Sundqvist was called for cross-checking Clifton with 8:56 remaining in the second period -- with a goal from defenseman Charlie McAvoy that tied the game 2-2 with 7:19 left in the second.

The Bruins went 1-for-5 on the power play. The Blues were 0-for-2.

"We went to the box too much," said forward David Perron, who took a tripping minor in the first period. "We lost our composure a little bit. We weren't able to get below the goal line enough. But I think we'll be a lot better next game."

The Blues will have to be to better to derail the Bruins, who have won eight straight playoff games, outscoring opponents 32-11, since trailing the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 in the second round.

St. Louis was the better team in the first period of Game 1, taking advantage of Boston's rust after it had 10 days off following its sweep of Carolina. After pressuring the Bruins in their end, Brayden Schenn gave the Blues a 1-0 lead by beating goalie Tuukka Rask with a shot from the inner rim of the right face-off circle 7:23 into the game.

But after Tarasenko's goal, which came on an open shot from the slot, the Bruins stepped up their pressure, and the Blues were unable to handle it.

"We just didn't get to our game at all," Schenn said. "We turned over pucks, didn't support each other, started flipping the puck a lot. We weren't making a whole lot of plays, and it forced us to defend a lot."

The 11 shots the Blues put on Rask after Tarasenko's goal were mostly from the outside with little traffic in front. With Rask playing as well as he has in the playoffs (13-5 with an NHL-best 1.85 goals-against average and .940 save percentage), that's not going to be good enough to win.

"Yeah, we've got to find a way to get more pucks towards him, get more bodies in front of him," Pietrangelo said. "We made it a little bit easy for him tonight, so we'll work at it tomorrow."

Video: Stevens breaks down the St. Louis Blues defense

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