Bruins Hit the Cup Victory Lane
The 2019 Stanley Cup Final is rolling along with the speed, pace, and excitement with more ups and downs than the Cyclone roller-coaster ride enjoyed by many years ago at Revere Beach. Games One through Four have had all the thrills one could experience, as each team took a turn at victory. For the Bruins, Games One and Three were solid outings – Games Two and Four were both victories for the St. Louis Blues. With two wins apiece, the bottom line is – this seven-game series has now been reduced to a best of three. Of concern once again is how the current injuries will affect the Boston lineup, presently two top defensemen, Zdeno Chara (broken jaw) and Matt Grzelcyk (concussion), are questionable, and a third defenseman, Kevan Miller is gone for the season with a knee injury. Chara took a puck to the jaw in Game Four, and is still undergoing evaluation to confirm a broken jaw and the possible return schedule, and Grzelcyk’s name has been bandied about as possibly returning to the ice tonight (Thursday) for Game Five. Having to play without Chara, and Grzelcyk could be disastrous for the Bruins. On the positive side, the team fared well when they were without the services of Chara for almost a month of the regular season when he missed 18 games with a knee injury, plus periodic losses, also due to injury during the regular season, to Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy, and David Pastrnak with a freak hand injury. But, this is not the regular season, this is the Stanley Cup Final, and like time, the SCF games wait for no one. Players play hurt up and down each lineup each and every game, the time for healing has to happen during the games. This is not to say that the Bruins cannot possibly beat St. Louis without Chara and possibly Grzelcyk missing on defense, what is does say is that the Bruins’ veterans must take the initiative and step up and take control.
Among those expected to lead the way are Bergeron, David Krejci – who has been invisible in this SCF series, Brad Marchand, and Tuukka Rask – who has to continue his solid play… namely those veterans who were on the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup winning team. Plusses one could hope for is another big game from Sean Kuraly, and if Danton Heinen is in the lineup, that he manages to contribute with a big hit or scoring play, It’s a new day and the 2019 Bruins must find a new way to ignite the spark that could lead them to the 2019 Stanley Cup Championship, if they wish to earn a second Cup. The time for the Bs is now, when two wins will make them Stanley Cup Champions, and that this team led by Cassidy, must not worry about who is not playing, but rather doing the job with the players who are playing. Among Cassidy’s comments made over the last few days, “When we’ve been on our game, we’ve used our speed skill on the forecheck, turnovers, get inside as well. Who is willing to get in there and get the puck for themselves? That’s what it comes down to at this time of year.” When asked about any lineup changes, Cassidy responded: “The back end could have a domino effect. Again, speculation, if we are out two D, Griz and Zee, we might have to play seven defensemen. Putting guys in that haven’t played a ton.” As Cassidy mentioned, it’s all speculation, but a move that could involve defensemen – Urho Vaakanainen, Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, or Steven Kampfer. Reporter Chad Finn aptly reported in The Boston Globe, regarding the Bruins’ position of being in a 2-2 games tied situation following four games in a best of seven series. “They were tied, 2-2, with the Leafs in round one. They were tied, 2-2, in the second round against the Blue Jackets. Heck, when they won the Cup eight years ago, they trailed the Canucks (Vancouver), 2-0 and 3-2 in the series, and had to win Game 7 on the road. The Bruins are home for Games 5 and 7 this time. The advantage is theirs.” Among the obstacles the Bs will continue to face in this series, is the tenacious, hard checks issued by the Blues, while they try to penetrate the wall Jordan Binnington seems to put in front of him while guarding the St. Louis net. It all comes down to the pivotal Game Five tonight (Thursday 8:00pm), when a loud, rocking garden crowd will hope to witness a victory by Boston and a 3-2 lead in games before heading back to St. Louis for Game Six. It would also be a wonderful gift for Bruins President Cam Neely, who will be celebrating his 54th Birthday (6-6-1965). Game Six will be played at St. Louis’ Enterprise Arena on Sunday, June 9th at 8:00pm, with Game Seven, if necessary, back on TD Garden ice on Wednesday, June 12.