BOSTON — Torey Krug flew down the ice with his helmet off, like his big, bad predecessors on the Boston defense from the days of Eddie Shore and Bobby Orr.
He lined up St. Louis center Robert Thomas and knocked him off his skates, delighting the crowd and sending an unmistakable message to rest of the Blues: The Bruins had awakened from their 11-day layoff, and they were ready to fight for the Stanley Cup.
“I think it gave our team energy, and that’s all you’re trying to do out there,” Krug said after Boston rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat St. Louis 4-2 in Game 1 on Monday night.
Sean Kuraly scored to break a third-period tie and assisted on another goal, and Tuukka Rask stopped 18 shots to help the Bruins complete a comeback from a two-goal deficit. Game 2 is Wednesday night.
Forty-nine years after Bobby Orr flew through the air to beat the Blues for the 1970 NHL title, the Bruins got goals from defensemen Connor Clifton and Charlie McAvoy. Brad Marchand added an empty-netter with about three minutes left.
Jordan Binnington made 34 saves for the Blues, who haven’t been back to the Finals since getting swept by Boston in 1970. But it was Boston which was struggling with a long layoff — at least early.
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Idle since May 16, when they completed their sweep of Carolina, the Bruins spotted St. Louis a two-goal lead before snapping out of it.
Brayden Schenn made it 1-0 lead midway through the first period on a third-chance shot. In the first minute of the second, David Pastrnak got sloppy behind the Bruins’ net and Schenn was there again, passing to Vladimir Tarasenko in the slot to make it 2-0.
But the Bruins outshot the Blues 18-3 in the second period, finishing with a 38-20 edge.
“I was pretty much a spectator after that,” Rask said.
Just 76 seconds after Tarasenko’s goal, Clifton tipped in a pass from Kuraly to cut the deficit to one. And in the middle of the second, on the Bruins’ fourth power play of the game, McAvoy came right up the middle and wristed it past Binnington’s glove to tie it.
It was still tied five minutes into the third when Noel Acciari, on Binnington’s left, made a spin move and swept the puck across the crease to Kuraly. He steadied it with his skate and poked it in with his stick to give the Bruins their first lead.
“In the second period, we stopped skating, turned it over and gave them momentum,” St. Louis head coach Craig Berube said. “I thought they were the better team after that.”
Jimmy Golen is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Bruins-rally-beat-Blues-in-Stanley-Cup-Finals-13899872.php.