Playoffs Round Up: Blues continue to head hunt

A tactic Sharks fans know a little too well.

Last time we spoke, I promised I wouldn’t have to talk to you about the Stanley Cup Final because the San Jose Sharks would be in it. Well, that didn’t turn out how I expected. So here we are, back again to chat about playoff hockey. The Final may not have shaped out how we wanted, but maybe that’s a good thing after seeing how dominant this Boston Bruins team really is.

The St. Louis Blues have become a big enemy of ours, it’s okay to admit it. After playing dirty against our Sharks, we have every right to root against them. I’m sorry if it pains you to root for the Bruins, but we have to do it. I hope it brings you some peace watching the Bruins dominate them.

Speaking of domination, Game 1 was just that for the Blues, though the first period didn’t quite seem like it. Brayden Schenn scored the only goal of the period. St. Louis came out strong in the second as well. Vladimir Tarasenko scored within the opening minute of play. That was the end of St. Louis’ reign, though.

The rest of the game was all black and gold. Connor Clifton got his team on  the board shortly after that Tarasenko goal. The B’s tied it up with a power play goal from Charlie McAvoy. The Bruins power play is lethal and St. Louis are learning that the hard way. The third period saw two more goals from Sean Kuraly and Brad Marchand. The Bruins gave their home crowd a 4-2 victory.

As the puck dropped in Boston for Game 2, the Bruins came out hot. Charlie Coyle, a hometown guy, scored on the power play before five minutes had ticked off the clock. Robert Bortuzzo then tied things up for the Blues. Joakim Nordstrom gave the B’s a go-ahead goal, but Tarasenko quickly tied it up again. That was all in the first period.

The rest of the game went scoreless, though both teams had decent chances. The ugliest part of the game came when Oskar Sundqvist made an ugly hit on a vulnerable Matt Grzelcyk. The shot to the head lead to Grzelcyk falling to the ice. It’s no surprise a Blues player was headhunting, but the NHL’s reaction was surprising. Sundqvist was suspended one game. Finally, some player safety taken seriously. A little too late for us Sharks fans, huh?

It came down to overtime. Oskar Sundqvist and Ryan O’Reilly teamed up to get the puck to Carl Gunnarsson, who shot it home. The series broke even.

The series was off to St. Louis. This was the first time in 49 years that the Blues hosted a Final game on home ice. They would probably like to forget it, though. This one was ugly for the home fans, ending 7-2. Yes, those poor Blues fans had to endure seven goals scored against them. The Blues’ golden boy, goalie Jordan Binnington allowed five of those goals before being pulled. The sixth goal was scored on an empty net, but the seventh was on replacement Jake Allen.

There were a few questionable hits thrown from the Blues, including head shots, in this game as well. Though they finally were held accountable for their dangerous style of play, it didn’t change their tactic whatsoever. They look desperate, throwing bodies when they have no other lifeline.

The Bruins now hold the series advantage at 2-1. The puck drops again today at 5 p.m. Pacific in St. Louis for Game 4.