Home ice advantage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
For the Bruins, it was as disappointing an outcome as you could imagine at the TD Garden, where the St. Louis Blues captured their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history with a 4-1 thrashing of the Bruins on Wednesday night.
Ryan O’Reilly, Alex Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn and Zach Sanford scored for the Blues, who won three of their four games in the series on the road.
O'Reilly was named as winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With a goal and an assist tonight, he matched Brad Marchand with 23 for the postseason to tie for the league lead.
Despite thoroughly outplaying St. Louis through the first 20 minutes, Boston found itself in a 2-0 hole at the first intermission.
A deflection of a Jay Bouwmeester shot by none other than O’Reilly through Rask’s five-hole opened scoring at 16:47, a goal which was just the second shot of the game for the Blues.
Making matters worse, the Bruins had already squandered a power play at that point, but the worst of the opening frame was yet to come.
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St. Louis caught Boston in a bad change -- make that a terrible change -- as Brad Marchand took his foot off the pedal on a back check. The result was a two-on-one break with Jaden Schwartz and Pietrangelo, the latter finishing with a mere 8 seconds left in the first for a 2-0 lead.
The Bruins outshot the Blues by a three-to-one margin, 12-4, in the first, stymied at every turn by a dialed in Jordan Binnington, who made 33 saves.
Tuukka Rask, on the contrary, made just 16 in his worst performance of the postseason at the worst possible time.
Boston proceeded to outshoot St. Louis, 11-6, in the second period, a decidedly slower period in which neither team scored and the Blues felt content to ice the puck at will and again, barely test Rask.
The Bruins never regained the form they showed in the first period, like a fuse blew out. While Binnington committed several more highway robberies, St. Louis sealed the deal on Schenn’s goal at 11:25 of the third.
If there was any hope of a comeback for the ages, a 28-3-esque finish, those dreams were left for dead when Sanford scored his first goal of the entire postseason at 15:22 for a 4-0 lead.
Matt Grzelcyk, making his return to the lineup after missing the majority of the series with a concussion, scored Boston's goal at 17:50.