Count out the Boston Bruins at your own peril.
Down a pair a minute into the second period on their home ice, two of Boston's great strengths propelled it to a come-from-behind 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues to take a 1-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
Boston's lethal power play, combined with its superior depth, were most responsible for the Bruins running ther winning streak in the postseason to eight games dating back to Game 4 vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round.
U.S. & World
Rust, initially, was no problem for the Bruins after an 11-day layoff. Boston had a pair of shots in the first 35 seconds of the game, including a laser off the stick from David Pastrnak that really tested the mettle of St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington.
Despite the fast start for the B’s, it was Brayden Schenn who scored the first goal of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final at 7:23 of the first period, taking advantage of a Bruins defense that failed to clear the zone twice. Schenn slid back in behind Brad Marchand, who found space behind a well-screened Tuukka Rask for a 1-0 lead.
The Bruins went 0-for-2 on the power play in the first, its missed opportunities highlighted by a pair of missed posts on the first man-advantage. Marcus Johansson broke up the middle between three Blues skaters and beat Jordan Binnington, only to be denied by the cross-bar, while David Krejci unloaded a rocket from atop the left-wing circle that ricocheted off the iron.
Shots on goal were 8-8 after 20 minutes.
The second period got off to a less than ideal start for Boston, when Schenn was at it again, this time from behind the net. He hit Vladimir Tarasenko alone in front for a 2-0 St. Louis lead 1 minute in to the middle frame.
Just as they have all season long, however, the Bruins wouldn’t let an early deficit define the game. Keeping in line with its season-long theme of getting production up and down the roster, it was a fourth-line center and third-pairing defenseman connecting on the goal which would get Boston within one.
Sean Kuraly saucered a pass to Connor Clifton, cutting in towards the left post, and knocked it further along out of mid-air into the back of the net at 2:16 to make it 2-1 in favor of the Blues.
The Bruins haven’t gotten to this point without a prolific power play either, of course. It was only a matter of time before they broke through on that as well, with Charlie McAvoy uncorking a wrister past Binnington at 12:41 of the second to tie the game at 2-2.
Boston outshot St. Louis, 18-3, in the middle period.
The Bruins finally took the lead 5:21 into the third period, when Kuraly was on the receiving end of a pass from just outside the crease off the stick of Noel Acciari.
Brad Marchand's empty net goal with 1:49 left in regulation proved to be the dagger, giving Boston a 1-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
Tuukka Rask made 18 saves on 20 shots for the Bruins, shutting the Blues out over the final 39 minutes of regulation.
It's the first time in the Bruins' three appearances this decade they've won Game 1.
Game 2 is Wednesday night at 8 p.m. back at TD Garden on NBC Sports Network.