Who played well in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final? Sometimes it's easy to tell, sometimes it isn't. NHL.com graded the players in the Boston Bruins' 4-2 victory against the St. Louis Blues on Monday. Here are the players and trends that stood out the most.
Sean Kuraly (Bruins) -- The fourth-line center scored Boston's third goal at 5:21 of the third period, fishing Noel Acciari's pass out of his skates and shoveling it past goalie Jordan Binnington before defenseman Joel Edmundson could move him off the puck. Kuraly also set up Boston's first goal with a pass to Connor Clifton.
Brayden Schenn (Blues) -- Schenn scored the game-opening goal at 7:23 of the first period when he collected a rebound in the slot and beat goalie Tuukka Rask to the far post for his sixth goal of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Blues center has scored in back-to-back games and has a point in three straight.
Marcus Johansson (Bruins) -- Johansson did his best to help Boston find its legs after a 10-day layoff. His speed gave St. Louis fits all night. The highlight was a wild rush at 15:05 of the first period when the Bruins forward split the defense and shot off the crossbar. He finished with four shot attempts.
Connor Clifton (Bruins) -- He wasn't even with the Bruins at the start of the season, nor was Clifton even a regular with Providence of the American Hockey League for part of the season. But the defenseman made a huge impact Monday, scoring Boston's first goal off a pass from Kuraly. He also drew a cross-checking penalty that led to Charlie McAvoy's power-play goal at 12:41 of the second period that tied it 2-2.
Brad Marchand (Bruins) -- It took the veteran forward a little while to find his legs. But once he did, he was one of the most dangerous players on the ice. Marchand tied for the Bruins lead in shots (four), including a spin-o-rama on a rush that forced Binnington to make a tough pad save. He also sealed the win with an empty-net goal.
Torey Krug (up) -- The Bruins defenseman had TD Garden rollicking in the third period with a wild play that began with him wrestling in front of his own net with Blues forward David Perron, Krug losing his helmet in the process. Finally untangling himself, he rushed down the ice and leveled forward Robert Thomas as he tried to clear the puck at the other end. The hit caused Krug to cartwheel over Thomas and crash to the ice. Krug led the Bruins in ice time (25:24) and had four shot attempts.
Blues discipline (down) -- St. Louis took four penalties in the first two periods and one was in the offensive zone, a high-sticking foul by Edmundson. The fourth penalty led to the power-play goal that tied the game.
David Pastrnak (down) -- The Bruins' top right wing was in a bit of a funk all night. He fumbled several scoring opportunities and was responsible for the turnover that led to Vladimir Tarasenko's goal at 1:00 of the second period. Pastrnak was minus-2.
Noel Acciari (up) -- The Bruins forward had the primary assist on Kuraly's game-winning goal and led them with six hits to help establish a physical tone.
Carl Gunnarsson (down) -- He played 12:58, second-lowest among Blues defensemen behind Robert Bortuzzo (11:50), yet Gunnarsson was on the ice for two goals against.
Colton Parayko (up) -- Parayko received the majority of the tough assignments and led the Blues in ice time (26:11). He had four shot attempts and also kept the slot area clean in the defensive zone.
Jordan Binnington (down) -- The Blues goalie will be the first one to tell you he did not have his best game. Yes, he made 34 saves, but he would definitely like to have back Zdeno Chara's point shot that led to the winning goal, and perhaps the shot by McAvoy that tied the game.
Time off was evident, but not costly for Bruins
The proverbial rust the Bruins were expected to have because of a 10-day layoff was there and it was obvious, especially in the first period and early in the second, when their struggles with puck management allowed the Blues to take a 2-0 lead. The Bruins also weren't as crisp with their puck movement on the power play.
Stage isn't too big for unsung Bruins
Two of Boston's most impactful players in Game 1 were Kuraly (goal, assist) and Clifton (goal); that's a fourth-line center and a third-pair defensemen who played 19 regular-season games and was averaging 11:37 of ice time per game in eight games through two rounds.
Penalties problematic for the Blues
The Blues' game is predicated on their forecheck and rolling four lines. But five penalties, including four in a span of 17:04 bridging the first and second periods, took them out of their rhythm and prevented them from getting any flow. They did a decent job killing the penalties, but the fact that they had to kill so many, especially in a short period of time, was one of their biggest issues. They won't win this series if they continue to give the Bruins five power plays.
Lack of zone time concerning to Blues
St. Louis generated eight shots on goal in a first period it had to like, especially because it came out with a 1-0 lead and controlled a good part of the fast-paced play. But the Blues never got back to carrying the play, and a big reason is they struggled to break the puck out of their own zone. They generated very little offense and were outshot 18-3 in the second period and 30-12 in the final 40 minutes.
-- NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen contributed to this story