GOLD STAR: Ryan O’Reilly finally busted through and provided the St. Louis Blues with some of the secondary offense that they’d been looking for in the playoffs, and more specifically in this series. O’Reilly scored two of the four St. Louis goals and had the game-winner midway through the third period when he jumped on the long rebound of an Alex Pietrangelo shot. O’Reilly finished with the two goals, five shots on net, one blocked shot and won 10-of-21 face-offs while chalking up 17:43 of ice time during the game. The Blues will continue to need other offensive lights to step up in this series besides their top line and O’Reilly was that guy for the first time in the series.
BLACK EYE: It was a literal black eye in this case as Zdeno Chara was knocked out of the game in the second period when he took a deflected puck right to the mouth. The bloodied Chara quickly left the ice and never returned to the game while taking up a spot on the bench during the third period. Afterward it was learned that Chara couldn’t really say anything on the bench and he had to wear a protective bubble around his helmet while sitting on the bench with his teammates. There was no immediate diagnosis after the game but it’s clearly a warning sign when Chara can’t talk and isn’t allowed to return to a Stanley Cup Final game. Bruce Cassidy would only say after the game that Chara was going to need dental work and that he didn’t know what his status was going to be for Game 5.
TURNING POINT: The third period really wasn’t a strong one for the Bruins as they could only muster four shots on net and really seemed to be playing a tentative game after getting the stuffing beaten out of them for two periods. Amazingly it remained a tied game for the first half of the third period and the Blues survived a B’s third-period power play after Charlie Coyle caught a high stick from Jay Bouwmeester. Once the Bruins didn’t hit paydirt on the power play it turned into a St. Louis controller period where their puck possession and physical play essentially forced Boston into submission. By the end of the third period, it looked like the Bruins had conceded this one and were ready to go back to Boston. Credit the Blues for making them look that way.
HONORABLE MENTION: Alex Pietrangelo is the best defenseman in this Stanley Cup Final series and he played like it in Game 4 at the Enterprise Center. Pietrangelo logged a ridiculous 29:37 of ice time, finished with a pair of assists including the rocket shot on the game-winning goal, had five shots on net and seven shot attempts, one hit, three takeaways and was a plus-3 during a strong, strong night for the Blues back end. Both Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko logged nearly half the game for the Blues and it made a big difference in their puck-moving and the overall flow of the offense. Pietrangelo also found time to put best friend David Backes in a headlock and wrestle him down to the ice during one scrum later in the game.
BY THE NUMBERS: 20 - the franchise-record number of goal-scorers for the Bruins in this postseason after Brandon Carlo’s shorthanded goal in the second period.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “He can barely talk and he’s out there supporting us. His leadership is on a whole other level.” —Brandon Carlo, on Zdeno Chara remaining on the bench with his teammates in the third period after an injury kept him from returning to the game.
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