Boston, Massachusetts-- The Stanley Cup Final is finally here, and the first game did not disappoint. A young and hungry St. Louis Blues squad playing in their first cup final in nearly fifty years came out firing in the first period, and forward Brayden Schenn found twine seven minutes and twenty-three seconds in. The Bruins were unable to respond in the final twelve minutes of the period, and the scoring stood at 1-0 heading into the second. It was expected by most fans and analysts for the Bruins to come out sluggishly, considering it had been nearly two weeks since they had last played. The second period looked to be more of the same, as electric scorer Vladimir Tarasenko was able to double the St. Louis lead just one minute into the second frame off a sloppy giveaway in the defensive zone by the Bruins. But then suddenly something changed for Boston, as they played mistake-free for the rest of the period and seemingly for the rest of the game. Just a minute and some change later, the Bruins were able to get their first goal of the series from an unlikely source, defenseman Connor Clifton, who scored for just the second time in the entire playoffs. The Blues suddenly became the sloppier team, taking way more penalties than they could afford against such a dangerous power play. The Bruins finally capitalized on their fourth man-advantage of the game, on a shot from Charlie McCoy that deflected off the Blues defense and past rookie netminder Jordan Binnington. The Blues looked lost and were unable to get shot in the final eight minutes of the second. When they were finally able to get back into the shot column four minutes into the second, the Bruins had taken complete control of the momentum. Shortly after the first Blues shot in what felt like hours, Boston was able to take the lead on a goal stuffed in by fourth-liner Sean Kuraly. This would be the deciding goal, as Brad Marchand closed the door after the Binnington was pulled from the game, nailing the open net with just under two minutes remaining. Game 1 would end with the Bruins winning, 4-2. Game 2 will be played at 8:00 PM eastern time on Wednesday, May 29th.
St. Louis, Missouri- The San Jose Sharks were able to take back the home-ice advantage from the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, taking game 3 by a score of 5-4. The game was decided in overtime by what many believe to be a hand pass by Sharks forward Timo Meier. After San Jose fought their way into the zone, Meier’s first attempt at a pass was deflected up into the air. Meier had lost his balance at this point and resorted to slapping the puck toward his opposite wing, Gustav Nyquist. Nyquist was then able to find a wide-open Erik Karlsson in front of an empty net, and he didn’t miss. Blues players and fans were furious after this play, and they were granted a meeting by the officials. The call was not overturned, and the Sharks skated off the ice victoriously. Of course, that play would be moot if the Blues were able to prevent the Sharks from scoring the last minute goal after they had pulled their goalie. The Sharks got two goals from their oldest player, future hall of famer Joe Thornton. Thornton is chasing his first Stanley Cup championship and is playing in his 21st season. Logan Couture was the hero in the third period, a role he has grown quite accustomed to during the playoffs. In 17 playoff games, he is leading the league with 20 points, including 14 goals. If the Sharks and Thornton want to finally catch that elusive championship, they’ll depend on Couture to keep it up.
Boston, Massachusetts- Death, taxes, and the Toronto Maple Leafs losing to the Boston Bruins in the first round. Three of the previous four times the Maple Leafs have made the playoffs, they entered as a lower seed facing off against a much more experienced Bruins team. However this time, Toronto had talent on their side. Over this last offseason, they signed superstar John Tavares to a 7-year $77 million contract to add to an already extremely promising core that included Mitchell Marner and Auston Matthews. Matthews, who was the first overall pick in 2016, had a career year this season. In just 68 games played, he recorded a career-high 73 points. Marner shined even brighter, recording a team-high 94 points. Despite these numbers, no progress has been made since last season, which finished exactly the same way for the Maple Leafs. Things were brighter than usual for them, as they were able to take a 3-2 series lead with game 6 being played at Scotiabank Arena. Leafs killer Jake DeBrusk struck for his first goal of the playoffs, and the Maple Leafs fell at home, 4-2. This led to a game 7 in Boston, in which the Maple Leafs meekly faded away into the offseason. They were trounced, 5-1. Despite this anticlimactic ending, the future is bright for the Leafs. Marner is only 22, and Matthews is 21. If they can come into their own with an established star in John Tavares, they will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.