The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down each day’s matchups with the all-important television and live streaming information included.
It must feel like mission impossible right now.
Finding a way past Sergei Bobrovsky in these playoffs has been, in a word, frustrating. Never have we seen a playoff iteration of Bob that’s been so dominant. His normal, leaky self at this time of year has been all patched up. It presented a world of problems for the Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 1 and sealant only hardened as Columbus’ run shifted to Round 2.
The Boston Bruins need to find something in Game 4 against the Blue Jackets on Thursday (6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Bobrovsky has allowed just one goal in the past 1:21:41 of game time, and that goal only passed the goal line by a half an inch. Their previous goal, David Pastrnak‘s lone marker in the series, deflected off his skate. Goals are goals, but Boston’s output has been poor at best and they’ve been relying on the fluke train to hit its stops on time. It hasn’t. The fluke train is often late.
And Bob has been there when the spectacular has been demanded.
2011 – 2018
• Record: 5-4
• GAA: 3.49
• Sv%: .891
• Games allowing 4+ goals: 10
• Record: 6-1
• GAA: 1.89
• Sv%: .937
• Games allowing 4+ goals: 0
Combine Bob’s play with the Blue Jackets forecheck and you have a combination that’s built to stifle opposing offenses.
“The secondary saves that he’s making are very impressive,” Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo said. “But he’s definitely going to crack at some point. I have a lot of faith that we’re going to put pucks past him really soon. We had really good opportunities through all three periods to put pucks behind him and you credit him today. But overall I don’t think it’s going to last.”
If Carlo’s premonition is come to pass, he’s going to need his team’s big three to step up to the plate.
Here are some streaks you don’t want to hear as a Boston fan:
- Season-long four-game point drought for Brad Marchand
- Season-long three-game point drought for Patrice Bergeron
- No goals in eight of the past 10 games for Pastrnak
“Is it sustainable? I don’t know,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I can’t predict the future. I’d like to think they’re going to have to score. Obviously, some of that starts on the power play. We had one that was not very good – the second one, we got taken off it, so that’s not even really a power play. We’re going to have to figure something out as a group.”
Boston is just 1-for-10 on the power play in the series. They were 7-for-16 in Round 1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and were third in the NHL, clipping along at 25.9 percent during the regular season.
Columbus’ game plan of shutting down the other team’s best is always the plan in theory, but they’ve done a remarkable job of it in these playoffs. Tampa’s top three scorers in Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point — all 40-goal scorers — were held to just five points across the first-round sweep. Pastrnak’s goal stands as the only point among himself, Marchand and Bergeron thus far.
Whatever’s in the water in Ohio is working then. The Bruins may want to steal a sip from that tap prior to Game 4. Going down 3-1 in a series is pretty much a death sentence.
[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
Game 4: San Jose Sharks at Colorado Avalanche, 10 p.m. ET, Sharks lead 2-1: As long as Logan Couture stays healthy for the San Jose Sharks, it seems they’ll do just fine. Since 2010, Couture’s 43 playoff goals only trail Alex Ovechkin‘s 50. And while Couture hadn’t scored since his heroics in Game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights, he made a triumphant entrance into Round 2 with a hat trick that made sure the Avs’ rally from a 2-0 deficit would be all for naught. Colorado had won eight straight at home before Couture and Co. sullied that. The Avs would do well converting some of their power-play opportunities. They were 0-for-4 in Game 3, including misfiring on a late-game attempt as they looked for an equalizer. (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN)
Hurricanes 5, Islanders 2
Stars 4, Blues 2
PHT’s Round 2 previews
• Round 2 schedule, TV info
• Questions for the final eight teams
• PHT Roundtable
• Blue Jackets vs. Bruins
• Hurricanes vs. Islanders
• Blues vs. Stars
• Avalanche vs. Sharks
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck