For the first time since Game 6 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, the Boston Bruins paid a visit to Enterprise Center on Tuesday night and snapped the St. Louis Blues’ nine-game winning streak with a, 3-2, overtime victory on the road.
Charlie McAvoy scored the game-winning goal for Boston less than a minute into the extra frame, while Jeremy Swayman (22-12-3, 2.33 goals-against average, .916 save percentage in 38 games played) made 20 saves on 22 shots against in the win.
St. Louis goaltender, Ville Husso (24-6-6, 2.46 goals-against average, .923 save percentage in 38 games played) stopped 32 out of 35 shots faced in the overtime loss.
The Bruins improved to 47-24-5 (99 points) on the season and are now one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning (46-22-8, 100 points) for 3rd in the Atlantic Division, while remaining 4th place in the division and in command of the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Blues, meanwhile, fell to 46-20-11 (103 points) overall and dropped to 3rd in the Central Division as a result of the Minnesota Wild’s, 2-0, victory against the Montréal Canadiens Tuesday night– forcing St. Louis and Minnesota in a tiebreaker that the Wild currently hold by virtue of having played in one fewer game than the Blues so far this season (76 games to St. Louis’ 77).
Boston finished 1-1-0 in their 2021-22 regular season series against St. Louis having previously gone 1-0-0 in their 2019-20 campaign that was cut short due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (which also prevented the two teams from meeting in the regular season in 2020-21).
Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters ahead of the game that David Pastrnak (undisclosed), Hampus Lindholm (lower body) and Linus Ullmark (undisclosed) would not make the two-game road trip against the Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins and are likely to return next week prior to the conclusion of the regular season.
As such, the B’s were without Pastrnak, Lindholm and Ullmark in addition to being short Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Tuesday.
Frödén’s injury meant that Curtis Lazar would slide in on the right side of the second line with Tomáš Nosek returning to the lineup to center the fourth line.
Cassidy made no other changes to his lineup from last Saturday’s, 2-1, victory against Pittsburgh to Tuesday night at Enterprise Center.
Jack Studnicka, Josh Brown, Jack Ahcan and Anton Blidh made up Boston’s list of healthy scratches in St. Louis.
Nathan Walker hooked Erik Haula and presented the Bruins with the first power play opportunity of the night at 5:40 of the first period, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage as it was cut short when Mike Reilly caught Brayden Schenn with a high stick at 6:49.
The B’s fell to 0-for-26 on the power play in their last 26 opportunities as a result.
St. Louis didn’t convert on their abbreviated skater advantage as the Bruins made the kill and Reilly returned to the ice from his sixth penalty in his last last games (four of which were, in fact, for high sticking).
Midway through the opening frame, McAvoy hooked Ryan O’Reilly at 11:11 and presented the Blues with another power play.
This time St. Louis made quick work of the skater advantage as Pavel Buchnevich (28) redirected a one-touch pass from Vladimir Tarasenko past Swayman to give the Blues a, 1-0, lead at 11:49 of the first period.
Tarasenko (44) and Jordan Kyrou (43) tallied the assists on Buchnevich’s power-play goal.
Late in the period, the two teams went into the first intermission at 4-on-4 after Ivan Barbashev and Lazar went into the box for roughing and an unsportsmanlike conduct infraction, respectively, at 19:15.
The two clubs would resume 5-on-5 action early in the middle frame after the penalties expired.
After one period, St. Louis led, 1-0, on the scoreboard, despite Boston holding an, 11-8, advantage in shots on goal.
The Bruins also led in blocked shots (8-3), takeaways (5-3) and faceoff win percentage (57-43), while the Blues led in giveaways (5-1) and hits (12-7).
St. Louis was 1-for-2 on the power play, while Boston was 0-for-1 on the skater advantage heading into the middle period.
Jake DeBrusk (23) sent a shot over Husso’s short side under the crossbar and off the back bar in the net before the puck rebounded back out of the twine.
The goal was waved off at first before a quick official review determined that the rubber biscuit had gone in and out so quickly– rendering an assist to Matt Grzelcyk (20) in the process while DeBrusk tied the game, 1-1, at 1:33 of the second period.
Almost midway through the middle frame, Haula sent a one-hand pass back to the point where Derek Forbort got a shot off towards the slot that Taylor Hall (17) tipped from below the crossbar past Husso– giving the Bruins their first lead of the night, 2-1, in the process.
Forbort (10) and Haula (25) notched the assists on Hall’s goal and the B’s had momentum well on their side at 9:44.
Late in the period, however, Forbort cut a rut to the penalty box for tripping Dakota Joshua, but Boston was able to make the kill on the ensuing infraction and special teams action at 17:00 of the second period.
In the vulnerable minute thereafter, though, the Blues managed to fling a shot at the net that Robert Thomas (19) tipped while skating through the slot to tie the game, 2-2, at 19:57.
Buchnevich (43) and Tarasenko (45) had the assists on Thomas’ goal with 2.4 seconds left on the clock in the second period as the Bruins gave up their 19th goal against in the final minute of any period this season.
Through 40 minutes the score was tied, 2-2, despite Boston holding a decisive advantage in shots on goal, 28-17. The Bruins even outshot the Blues, 17-9, in the second period alone.
The B’s held the advantage in blocked shots (10-8), takeaways (11-5) and faceoff win% (63-38), while the Blue Notes led in giveaways (8-5) and hits (15-14) heading into the final frame.
St. Louis was 1-for-3 on the power play while Boston was 0-for-1 on the skater advantage.
Neither team scored in the third period, while only Barbashev took a penalty at 6:34 for tripping Haula.
The Bruins fell to 0-for-27 on their last 27 power play opportunities as the skater advantage came and went by the wayside.
After 60 minutes of regulation, Boston and St. Louis were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard despite the Bruins holding a, 34-22, advantage in shots on goal– including a, 6-5, advantage in the third period alone.
The B’s led in takeaways (16-11), hits (22-20) and faceoff win% (59-41), while the Blues led in giveaways (11-4) after three periods.
Both teams had 13 blocked shots each, while St. Louis finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play and Boston went 0-for-2 on the skater advantage as no penalties were called in the extra frame.
Cassidy sent out Charlie Coyle, DeBrusk and McAvoy to start the overtime period, while Blues head coach, Craig Berube, countered with Thomas, Tarasenko and Justin Faulk.
It didn’t take long for the Bruins to nearly blow it, then win it.
One Boston skater misplayed a loose puck before DeBrusk over-skated it prior to Swayman emerging from the crease to clear it off the boards in the neutral zone while facing pressure from a St. Louis forward.
The Bruins quickly recovered from their own unforced error and entered the attacking zone on a rush with DeBrusk cutting to the trapezoid rather than shooting the puck prior to sending a pass back to McAvoy (9) as the defender crept into the high slot and snapped a shot past Husso for the game-winning goal.
DeBrusk (15) and Coyle (26) had the assists on McAvoy’s goal 48 seconds into overtime and the Bruins won, 3-2, almost as quickly as the extra frame began.
Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 35-22, including a, 1-0, advantage in overtime alone, as well as maintaining their advantage in hits (22-20) and faceoff win% (60-40).
St. Louis left their own ice with the lead in giveaways (11-4), while both teams managed to amass 13 blocked shots each.
The Bruins snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Blues in the process on Tuesday night, while improving to 9-3 in overtime this season (11-5 past regulation overall in 2021-22).
The Blues fell to 3-9 in overtime this season, as well as 5-11 past regulation overall.
St. Louis also dropped to 27-8-6 (16-4-3 at home) when scoring first, 20-1-4 (14-0-3 at home) when leading after one and 8-4-5 (3-2-3 at home) when tied after two periods in 2021-22.
Boston improved to 13-15-3 (6-7-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 6-13-2 (2-6-1 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 14-5-0 (7-4-0 on the road) when tied after the second period this season.
The Bruins head to PPG Paints Arena for a matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night before hosting the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden on ABC.
Boston heads to Montréal on Sunday before hosting Florida and Buffalo next Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, prior to their regular season finale in Toronto next Friday.