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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bruins-Blues Wouldn't Be a Bad Stanley Cup Final in June

The NHL would do backflips to have a Bruins-Blackhawks rematch in the Stanley Cup Final but after tonight's excellent regular season game between St. Louis and Boston, we can be sure that Blues-Bruins wouldn't be a bad consolation prize (television ratings be damned). The only downside of this evening's proceeding at TD Garden was that it had to be decided in a lame shootout. St. Louis (15-3-3) beat Boston (14-6-2) 3-2 as they scored twice (Alexander Steen and Derek Roy) in the shootout and the Bruins only managed one goal (Patrice Bergeron). Death to the shootout (picks up pitch fork, lights torch)!

I've said for years that St. Louis is basically the Western Conference equivalent of Boston so it was nice to see it up close with my own eyes. Haha I was right after all! The Blues don't have many stars or big names but they have a bunch of solid hockey players. Jaroslav Halak (29 saves) is probably their biggest question mark when they inevitably get into the playoffs but at least tonight he was very good.

Gregory Campbell scored his first goal of the season, a one-timer that he almost whiffed on at 18:20 of the first period from Torey Krug and Daniel Paille. Campbell had been playing better the last few weeks so it was nice to see him finally get rewarded. Now only Dennis Seidenberg and Matt Bartkowski are the only Bruins regulars without goals to their name in 2013-14.

Before you had a chance to take a breath, the Blues had responded with an equally weird goal of their own. Derek Roy's pass wasn't deflected but somehow it still went through Tuukka Rask's (24 saves) pads at 18:51. Rask might not give up a softer goal this season, it was shocking to see the puck go in following such a nothing play.

St. Louis took that momentum and added to it when David Backes tipped in Kevin Shattenkirk's shot from the point at 16:04 of the second period. In this instance, Boston was the team to dust themselves off and tied it up shortly thereafter. Crazy Carl Soderberg wristed one by Halak at 18:41 (his third goal of the season), from Reilly Smith and Chris Kelly.

It was Boston's third game in their last four nights but they dug deep and summoned plenty of energy in the third period and overtime. The problem was that they couldn't solve Halak. In OT: Loui Eriksson had what felt like an hour before he shot it wide of the net and Soderberg was stuffed on a breakaway. Roy also had a breakaway for St. Louis but his shot went off the crossbar and out of play.

They were disappointed to only get one point tonight when they probably deserved one more but the B's have a good chance to accumulate points this week since four of their next five games are at TD Garden. It starts with a very winnable meeting with Carolina (8-10-4, 5th in Metropolitan Division) who they just beat 4-1 on Monday in their home arena. Expect Chad Johnson to get a rare start in a game that you definitely don't want to attend or even watch assuming you have something better to do.

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