BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins could have won Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in the first period, but they didn't capitalize on their scoring chances and it cost them dearly.
The B's, clearly energized by the emotional lift provided by Zdeno Chara playing despite a broken jaw reportedly suffered in Game 4, were all over St. Louis Blues in the opening 20 minutes of Thursday's matchup at TD Garden.
Boston had a 27-14 edge in shot attempts, a 17-8 advantage in shots on net and a 15-8 lead in scoring chances in the first period, but the B's couldn't beat Blues rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington, who helped St. Louis survive the early surge and head into the intermission scoreless.
"What can be said about (Binnington) tonight? He kept us in the game," Blues forward Tyler Bozak said. "They came hard. They're a great team. They play well at home. They could've had a few goals in the first, and (Binnington) really bailed us out, just like he has all year and gave us a chance to win. We're lucky enough that we were able to pull it off for him."
The Bruins gave up a goal 55 seconds into the second period and were unlucky to give up a second after a horrendous no-call in the third period. Jake DeBrusk scored his first goal of the series late in the third period, but the Blues successfully staved off the Bruins' furious comeback attempt, and now they will take a 3-2 lead back to St. Louis for Sunday's Game 6.
"Frustrated for sure. I thought we had a great first period," Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said. "We have to find a way to get one in the first, so they aren't feeling too good about weathering the storm and coming out in the second (period) and getting one early on the first shift. We have to do a better job being ready in that second period. Ultimately, that's what hurt us."
The Bruins must replicate what the Blues did in Game 5 and overcome the intensity of the crowd in the first period when the series resumes Sunday in Game 6. Blues fans at the Enterprise Center are going to be a raucous bunch hoping to see their team win its first Stanley Cup championship, and weathering that storm will be a huge challenge for Boston.
"We've done it before, for sure," Krug said. "There's a lot of different ways we've won series, won hockey games, and it's just another test for this group. We haven't done anything easy this year. We've put ourselves against the wall a lot this season, so it'll be another test. I think we will be ready to go."
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