By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. And that’s precisely what the Bruins have done in Games 1 and 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Blues.
In both of their victories in the series that is now tied 2-2 and headed back to TD Garden for Game 5 on Thursday night, the Black and Gold looked head and shoulders above the less skilled St. Louis club. They utilized their speed and skill and failed to let the physical attack that head coach Craig Berube has made his team’s signature style slow them down.
The former enforcer who ranks 7th all-time in penalty minutes in the NHL with 3,149 – and was once suspended by the league for calling Peter Worrell, who is African American, a “monkey” – has his team playing on the edge, so much so that many of the San Jose Sharks claimed the Blues players were trying to injure anyone they could in the Western Conference Finals. That’s why it is so ironic that he publically whined about the officiating prior to Game 4 on Monday night.
Even so, the officials weren’t responsible for the 4-2 loss that evened the series. The Bruins are largely responsible for what has become a best of three series as they head back to the barn on Causeway Street.
Simply put, the Blues beat the bag out of head coach Bruce Cassidy’s bunch who were seemingly so well seasoned, that they put up a mere four shots on the previously shaky Jordan Bennington when they should have been playing their most desperate hockey of the evening.
“We’ve talked a lot about the defense here,” said Cassidy after the shellacking his team took in the loss. “Personally, I think our forwards have got to do a way better job with our [defense] out.
“The onus has to go on them. They’ve got to pull their weight in terms of puck support and helping out the [defense], finishing some plays.”
Truth be told, the top six forwards for the Bruins have been a major disappointment. Patrice Bergeron is obviously battling some sort of issue healthwise and Brad Marchand is trying to pass more than Tom Brady does all season in each of the first four games.
Jake DeBrusk might as well be on the side of a milk carton for the Final, David Backes has yet to prove that he even deserves a game day sweater in his stall this series, and David Krejci is either being dragged down by the deadweight he is playing with, or he is as guilty as his linemates for underperforming on hockey’s biggest stage.
If it wasn’t for the likes of Charlie Coyle, Marcus Johansson, Sean Kuraly, Noel Acciari, Danton Heinen, Joakim Nordstrom, and Chris Wagner before he broke his wrist in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals blocking a shot against the Carolina Hurricanes, this Bruins team might not even be going back to Boston with the series tied.
“We never said it was going to be an easy series, right? So there are no surprises there,” said Bergeron following the peeing down their leg that his club collectively did in Game 4. “We just have to obviously learn from tonight, but also be ready for the next game.”
Ya think so?
Truth be told, this Bruins team is just another no-show and a couple of bad bounces away from seeing a very winnable Stanley Cup slip through their hands. And no matter what you think of the level of play that Zdeno Chara is capable of at age 42, the likelihood that he won’t return to the lineup anytime soon is a huge hole for this frustrating bunch.
It’s nut-cutting time right now. And if the Bruins don’t wake up soon, they will find themselves on their knees polishing Cinderella’s glass slipper when this series ends.