It was throwback hockey on Thursday night when the well-rounded St. Louis Blues hit the ice in Boston. What made it a throwback? Number 4, Bobby Orr dropped the ceremonial puck in dedication to the always rugged 1970’s. For those unaware, the Bruins are celebrating their 90th season. With a hockey legend dropping the puck, it was game on. The tilt was a well fought and equally matched game, resembling a playoff feel.
“Yeah they’re very similar in a lot of ways. I don’t know what you guys thought about the game but I thought it was a real fun game to watch,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “There was a lot of opportunities and great plays and great body checks; everything that you wanted to see in this game was there. In overtime and some chances also in overtime. Everything from my end except for that extra point that I thought we should have had.”
The playoff style of hockey was a notion respected by both teams.
“Yeah it was a playoff game, exactly. It was very disciplined,” said Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. “I think both teams really respected each other, but it was really a hard game. It was physical in a way – not running over each other – but it was physical in a way where there was a lot of weight and heavy play out there. I think for a lot of guys this was very demanding.”
Boston got on the board first at 18:20 of the opening period, Gregory Campbell (1) Wrist shot – ASST: Torey Krug (7), Daniel Paille (2). A disciplined game for both teams, many were quick to point out that it may have had a different outcome if the Bruins hadn’t suffered an unfortunate goal at the glove and blocker of goaltender Tuukka Rask. Shortly following Campbell’s goal, Blues Jaden Schwartz (4) Deflected shot – ASST: Derek Roy (8), Barret Jackman (3) evened the score at 18:51 of the first.
“We played a great game I thought,” said Bruin’s Rask. “I gave up that worst goal of my career probably there, and it brought them back in the game, and we got back two-two, played a hell of a third too, and then we just couldn’t score that winning goal and then in the shootout I couldn’t stop their pucks.”
The second period found St. Louis kicking off the scoring at 16:04, David Backes (9) Tip-in – ASST: Kevin Shattenkirk (14). Boston battled back at 18:41 in part to a solid effort from Carl Soderberg (3) Snap shot – ASST: Reilly Smith (11), Chris Kelly (4). With both the third period and overtime going scoreless, the teams found themselves facing the shootout.
Some of the numbers indicate that the game was more in the Bruins favor, ever so slightly of course. Boston had a 31-26 advantage in shots, a 32-31 edge in hits, a 13-6 lead in takeaways and a 34-29 edge in faceoffs. But ultimately, the stats just wouldn’t matter. Patrice Bergeron in similar fashion to games past, was the lone shootout scorer for Boston. In terms of the opposition, both Alexander Steen and Derek Roy scored for St. Louis, effectively giving their Blues a 3-2 win.
“I mean at the end of our road trip, grinding it out against a good hard fought team and we know they place real strong at home, they like to come out real physical,” lamented Blues’ Derek Roy. “And we weathered that storm right away, then responded on their goal. I thought all around we did a good job.”
However the point that it wasn’t simply St. Louis who excelled at the game, can not be driven home enough. With a long list of similarities, both teams were quick to commend the others efforts — while making mention of their own flaws. Only in hockey, right?
“They’re a consistent team, I think we’ve played up to their level like we did tonight, but we know every single night the Boston Bruins are going to be on their game,” said Blues’ David Backes. “We have lapses still where we’re not quite on our game and we’re working on the consistency night in night out, week to week, month to month, year to year and they’ve been able to do that for four or five years straight now and that’s the sort of competitive attitude and consistency we’re looking for.”
Boston will look to rebound against Carolina and their army of Staal’s tomorrow for a 1 pm start. The Blues will play host to the Dallas Stars at 8 pm.