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Bruce Cassidy increasingly called on Sean Kuraly and the fourth line, and they delivered

Sean Kuraly slips home the winning goal — past defenseman Joel Edmundson and under goaltender Jordan Binnington — in the third period.john tlumacki/Globe staff/Globe Staff

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Another night on the fourth line, and another night of making the opposition first-rate miserable.

Sean Kuraly’s straightline game paid off with a goal and an assist Monday night, helping the Bruins to the 4-2 win over the Blues that gave them a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Stanely Cup Final.

This is nothing new, of course. Kuraly last season centered the Trench Connection Line with Tim Schaller and Noel Acciari. Now he’s with Joakim Nordstrom and Acciari, and the results are the same — methodical, effective, timely, some nights devastating.


Related: ‘Don’t make that guy mad.’ Torey Krug’s hit exemplified the Bruins’ night

Monday was one of those nights.

“Really, I think we are just trying to play as hard as we can,” said Kuraly, whose goal, his third of the postseason, broke the 2-2 tie with 5:21 gone in the third period. “The role, or whatever it is, is something that maybe other people talk about, or whatever.

“We are just trying to play good, or play as hard as we can.”

Kuraly’s game-winner came with help from Acciari, whose spin and pass from the left of the net found the hulking Kuraly parked just off the top of the crease near the right post. Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson reached out with a tepid stick check, too late to prevent Kuraly from relaying the puck from skate to stick and then potting it by a near-defenseless Jordan Binnington.

Related: Photos from Game 1

Earlier, after the Bruins fell behind, 2-0, by the start of the second period, it was Kuraly who dished across from the right faceoff dot off the rush and connected with a charging Connor Clifton. Clifton, with stick on the ice, didn’t so much finish off as act as a backboard, the Kuraly pass ricocheting in off one of his skates like a Sam Jones “too late” bank shot off the glass.


“They went down on a partial 3-on-2 and off the skate,” said Blues coach Craig Berube, “and that obviously gave them momentum. I thought they were the better team after that.”

The Bruins weren’t just better, they were Cup-crushing dominant, limiting the Blues to but a pair of second-period shots after Vladimir Tarasenko’s goal provided a 2-0 lead only 60 seconds into the period.

As the evening played out, the Bruins grabbed the momentum and ran away from the Blues with their run of four consecutive goals. Coach Bruce Cassidy, who entered the night intending to have Patrice Bergeron’s line match up with the Jaden Schwartz-Brayden Schenn-Taresenko trio, increasingly called on Kuraly’s line to handle the Blues’ top trio.

Related: Gasper: When the Bruins finally found their legs, it was all over for the Blues

Sean Kuraly got a warm reception at the Bruins bench after scoring the go-ahead goal in the third period.Jim Davis/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

“The focus for us is just playing our game,” said Kuraly. “We’re good when we’re skating and we’re hard on pucks. I think the physicality just comes out naturally from some of our guys — the compete in us. I think you saw that with the hit from Torey.”

Torey Krug landed the smack of the night midway through the third period after losing his helmet in an awkward tussle with the Blues’ David Perron. Once back on his skates, Krug darted up ice, passed up a hit on Perron in the neutral zone (Discipline 101), then exploded on Robert Thomas in the Blues’ end of the ice. It was the hardest check the Bruins have delivered all postseason and came less than five minutes after Kuraly broke the 2-2 tie.


“I think we just try to play our game,” said Kuraly. “Usually when we do that, we are skating, we have the puck, and usually things are going well. So I think it’s just a byproduct of playing the game the coach wants us to.”

For Kuraly and crew, Cassidy’s No. 1 ask is energy and foerecheck. These two teams are similar in that they want to force play down one another’s throats, mainly with dogged, uptempo forechecking. The Blues did a better job of that in the first period, when Schenn’s goal provided the 1-0 lead and the two sides evenly split a total 16 shots.

But it all changed on the Kuraly-to-Clifton 3-on-2 drive. The Bruins had their legs moving again while the Blues rarely were able to force the puck beyond mid-ice. In the middle 20 minutes, the Burins outshot them, 18-2, after the Tarasenko goal.

“We have a lot of good players on our team, and that’s kind of where we are in the lineup,” said Kuraly, again referring to his fourth-line role. “We just want to do the best we can for the team. We’ve got a heckuva team in there, a lot of guys who’ve been around for a while.”


If the top two lines balance each other out, the difference in this series could end up the work of Boston’s bottom six, with Charlie Coyle centering Marcus Johansson and Danton Heinen on the third line, and Kuraly and his fellow Fourth Estaters providing knockout punches from the very bottom of the order.

“Wherever they want to put us,” said Kuraly, “it’s all good.”

In addition to a goal and an assist, Sean Kuraly delivered this big hit on the Blues’ Jaden Schwartz.John Tlumacki/globe staff/Globe Staff

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at kevin.dupont@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeKPD.