It’s not often that adorable puppies, Barstool Sports, “Gloria,” sabotage, and country artist Lil Nas X all come up in the same conversation. All have played a part in a 2019 Stanley Cup Final, but have been overshadowed by the heavy-hitting and poor-refereeing that’s dominated the postgame discussions.
The Blues currently lead the series 3-2. If they win on home ice Sunday, Lord Stanley is theirs. If not, the teams will return to Bostom for Game Seven. Here’s what you need to know about the game ahead of puck drop.
The first two games in Boston were evenly split: the Bruins won the first 4-2, and the Blues took the second 3-2 in OT. Back in St. Lous for Game Three is when the tidal wave of momentum seemed to turn the series the Bruins way with a crushing 7-2 victory in front of a demoralized Blues home crowd.
But the Blues–whose comeback season has been marked by a refusal to give up–won Game Four 4-2, then when Game Five returned to Boston, the Blues beat the Bruins 2-1.
The biggest–and cleanest–hit of the series thus far was this one by Torey Krug on Rob Thomas.
With a series with so many hits, and so many of them hard ones, it’s no surprise that not all of them are clean and the injuries and suspensions have been piling up.
Every game this series has had 60+ hits & two of them have had 80+.
Yes, hits are an exciting part of the game. But–when they're the *biggest* part of *every* game–it feels less like we're watching hockey & more like watching Thunderdome on ice. #StanleyCup
— b. (@youripides) June 7, 2019
Bruins Injuries: Zdeno Chara was injured in Game One (needed stitches; exact injury unknown) and broke his jaw in Game Four. He was back on the ice for Game Five.
In Game Two Matt Grzelcyk had to be helped off after he was boarded by Blues’ forward Oskar Sundqvist, who was suspended by the Department of Player Safety for one game. He was replaced in the Blues’ lineup by former Capital Zach Sanford. Noel Acciari was pulled at the end of Game Five for concussion testing. Marcus Johansson was hit in the head in Game Five.
Chara, Acciari, and Johansson will all be playing in Game Six; only Matt Grzelcyk is still out.
Blues Injuries: Defenseman Vince Dunn took a puck to the face in an earlier round and returned in Game Three. Robert Thomas has been out with an undisclosed injury since the first game of the series but will return in Game Six to replace the suspended Ivan Barbashev. Vladimir Tarasenko will play after the birth of his third child on Saturday.
Only 11 Blues players will have played in all 24 of their playoff games. Two missed one game each for suspensions, and the others for injury; their depth-players who have filled in–like Zach Sanford and Robert Bortuzzo–have made a hugely positive impact.
Ivan Barbashev was suspended for Game Six for an illegal hit to the head of Marcus Johansson in Game Five. Yes, that Marcus Johansson. Our Marcus Johansson.
The Blues have had two players suspended in the last five games, the first time in NHL history that two players from the same team have been suspended in the Final.
But hey, at least some of the rough stuff is more humorous than injurious?
— b. (@youripides) May 28, 2019
While the Blues were victims of a missed call on a handpass that lead to the game-winning goal in overtime against the San Jose Sharks, in Game Five the referees missed another blatant penalty–this time, in the Blues’ favor.
The Blues’ Tyler Bozak tripped Noel Acciari in the offensive zone. Acciari went down (and was eventually pulled for concussion spotting), and seconds after, as the Bruins waited for the whistle, David Perron put one past Tuukka Rask to make it 2-0 Blues.
This came after comments from Blues’ interim head coach Craig Berube after Game Three when he spoke out against the referees for the number of penalties they were calling on the Blues.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy spoke after Game Five he called the missed call on Bozak “egregious” and said the referring was a “black eye” on the league. “The narrative changed after Game Three. There was a complaint or whatever but forth by the opposition, and it just seems to have changed everything.”
— Tyler Stewart (@TStewart_92) June 8, 2019
Headline photo: NHL
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