- Torey Krug plays like he’s 6-9, not 5-9. There’s no small-man syndrome here. He’s tough and damn talented.
- Brad Marchand and Patrick Maroon’s chirping is a little like two 10-year-olds on the schoolyard. All talk, no action. Except they’re both 31. #GrowUp
- The Bruins came out rusty until Sean Kuraly and the fourth line stopped the bleeding. The fourth-line was the best on the ice.
- The Bruins were a handful for the first three rounds. But everyone said they’d be water bugs compared to the big, heavy Blues. It sure didn’t look that way. The Blues had almost no O-zone time and their cycle game didn’t exist. #DontPokeTheBear
- Ben Bishop is injured. Again. A 100 m.p.h. slapper off the collarbone likely snapped that bone. They guy needs to be wrapped in bubble wrap. At least Anton Khudobin was lights out this season.
- Tomas Hertl is something else. A lot of fantasy owners missed his breakout because of the three-hour time difference. Not anymore.
Just a few things that caught my eye;
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau, hometown hero. There will never be a bigger day in his life … unless there’s a silver chalice involved. Wow!
- Marc-Andre Fleury kept the the Pens in the game when the Caps owned them in the first. His Conn Smythe will look great in Vegas. Or Calgary.
Just a few things that caught my eye:
- Joe, Joe and more Joe. Everyone needs a Little Joe. And some Jumbo Joe. Depends on the day … and the need. Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and hey — I’ll throw in Joel Ward, too. Close enough.
- Has anyone seen Vladimir Tarasenko (above), other than on one of those old-school milk cartons? He’s been missing since May 15. Wow.
How the Blues got here:
By being resilient, that’s how. And it’s still strange to say.
After a crushing defeat at the Madhouse in Game 6 against Chicago, it all felt much too familiar. The Blues were going to be outed again in the first round, perpetually unable to get past the hump and each first-round exit more painful than the last. Except the Blues won, and carried that momentum forward against Dallas.
By the time the Stars had pushed the series to seven games, the Blues had already lost any reason to panic. They polished off the reigning Cup champions in seven games, so there was no reason they couldn’t do the same to the Central Division winner, a Dallas team that still had many holes on defense and question marks in net. The Stars defense just didn’t have an answer to their size and versatility – young John Klingberg still has plenty of growing to do and Kris Russell barely moved the meter, which left 6-foot-3 Stephen Johns, who had 14 career NHL games prior to the playoffs, as the only player big enough to the handle the Blues’ size. And, as expected, neither Kari Lehtonen nor Antti Niemi were particularly sharp, showing flashes of ability but not consistent enough for Lindy Ruff to trust either one.
Those two weaknesses were exploited by the Blues’ depth, because if Vladimir Tarasenko wasn’t doing the scoring, it was Troy Brouwer and Robby Fabbri. Even David Backes, who posted his lowest point total in seven seasons, has six goals in the playoffs this year, after scoring just five in his previous 31 playoff games. Backes has been so good that the Blues may think twice before moving on from their long-time captain. The Stars did all they could with a young lineup that was missing key bodies, and simply just ran into a better, more experienced team.