In the immediate aftermath, there was plenty of anger to go around.
In the Bruins’ locker room, most of the frustration was focused on the play in particular out on the ice — a painful sequence that ended with Matt Grzelcyk crumpled on the ice in pain.
With just 2:03 remaining in the first period of Wednesday’s Game 2 against the Blues, a simple puck retrieval behind Boston’s net quickly turned hazardous for Grzelcyk. Off balance as he slowed up along the end boards, the B’s defenseman was struck from behind by St. Louis skater Oskar Sundqvist — with the latter’s elbow slamming Grzelcyk’s face into the glass.
The Charlestown native immediately dropped to the ice, eventually needing assistance from David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk before exiting the Cup Final contest for good.
For David Backes, the hit delivered by Sundqvist, tabbed by the on-ice officials as two minutes for boarding, should bring more severe consequences for the Blues, especially given the end result — with Grzelcyk sent to the hospital for further testing.
A look at the hit on by Oskar Sundqvist on Matt Grzelcyk. Didn't look good. pic.twitter.com/3yjlbhgkvs
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) May 30, 2019
“I don’t think that’s a hit we want in our game,” Backes said. “I think it’s from behind, elevated into his head into the glass. If that’s a two-minute penalty, there’s going to be a shortage of defensemen in this series by the end of it.
“That’s in somebody else’s hands. That’s something I think that if I’m making that hit, I’m probably watching from the bleachers for a few but we will see what happens with their player.”
For Bruce Cassidy, most of the anger revolved around the minutes following Grzelcyk’s exit.
Gifted with another stint on the man advantage after Charlie Coyle made the Blues pay earlier in the stanza off of a goaltender interference call, Boston’s power play failed to avenge its fallen defenseman — with a wrist shot from Coyle standing as the lone jab that Boston was able to land against Jordan Binnington in net.
With Grzelcyk’s status uncertain going forward, Cassidy lamented his club’s inability to generate some momentum out of an unfortunate break.
“The hit on Grizz, that’s when you want to score,” Boston’s bench boss explained. “You want to send a message. The hits on Tuukka... So, we let opportunities slip away. That’s frustrating for a coach when guys are paying a price to draw a penalty and then you don’t at least generate momentum. So shame on us on those.”
Frustration and displeasure might have bubbled up to the surface when reading the room following a disappointing 3-2 overtime loss on home ice.
But such bouts of exasperation will likely take a backseat to a looming sense of dread — especially if Boston’s secret weapon in Grzelcyk is unable to return for the remainder of this series.
Let’s get the obvious consequences out of the way first, at least from