Bruins Dominate Game 3 to Take 2-1 Lead over Blues in 2019 Stanley Cup FinalJune 2, 2019
The Boston Bruins took a 2-1 Stanley Cup Final lead with a 7-2 win over the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on Saturday night.
The Blues were granted a power play just one minute into the game but couldn't capitalize. Instead, it was the Bruins to score a power-play goal with 9:13 to go in the first period. Patrice Bergeron tipped Torey Krug's shot for his 100th career postseason point to give Boston an early 1-0 lead.
It was a fitting way to start the game for Boston, which went four-of-four on power plays in the game to raise its postseason total to 23 power-play goals.
"The Bruins entered the series with what was the most efficient power play the playoffs had seen since the 1981 New York Islanders, but it was 2-for-10 in Games 1 and 2," ESPN's Greg Wyshynski wrote. "Now? It's [one goal] away from tying the franchise record for power-play goals in a postseason (24)."
Charlie Coyle and Sean Kuraly silenced Blues fans who have waited 49 years for a home Stanley Cup Final game with two more goals before the first intermission to put the Bruins up 3-0. Boston's three goals came on just four shots.
Coyle's goal is the latest way the Bruins' February trade with the Minnesota Wild to acquire the hometown kid has paid off. In Game 2, though Boston lost 3-2 in overtime, Coyle led all Bruins forwards with 19 minutes on the ice while also scoring a power-play goal.
If the Blues held any hope that the second period might be different, David Pastrnak silenced them with a wide-open chip-in on the power play 41 seconds after the intermission.
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@NHLBruins The @NHLBruins are the 38th NHL team to score a power-play goal in seven or more consecutive games within a postseason. The only other such streak in the past six years was a nine-game run by the Lightning in 2018 (11-for-33). #NHLStats #StanleyCup https://t.co/0zIG98g61k
Entering Game 3, there was concern surrounding the Boston top line's subdued performance through the first two games of the series. Bergeron and Pastrnak changed that narrative. It was unrealistic to think that Boston's best players would never show up in the most important series of the season.
However, the dominant way in which they introduced themselves is deflating for the Blues looking forward. Even more deflating, one minute after St. Louis got on the board in the second period, the Bruins again utilized the power play to establish a 5-1 lead.
This time, Krug brushed by goaltender Jordan Binnington. The defenseman finished with the one goal and three assists, becoming the only Bruins player in franchise history to account for four points in a Stanley Cup Final game.
The fifth goal led Blues head coach Craig Berube to pull Binnington for the first time in his career, and Jake Allen took over in the net. By then, it was much too late to salvage Game 3.
However, how the Blues' rookie goaltender bounces back from the worst postseason start of his 55-game NHL career will be crucial in Game 4 and beyond—especially with seasoned veteran Tuukka Rask in the opposing net.
That said, Binnington's form won't matter if the Blues can't rediscover their offense. Before St. Louis scored on the power play with 14:36 remaining in regulation, the Bruins had killed 19 penalties in a row since the Eastern Conference Final, per Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.
Just prior to Colton Parayko shooting right into Brandon Carlo's thighs, resulting in a fortuitous bounce past Rask, the Blues had failed to generate hardly any offense during one minute and 23 seconds of four-on-three hockey.
Their offensive ineptitude was matched by Boston's pristine efficiency, as their four power-play goals came on just four shots. Allen was pulled with 5:30 left in the third period, which resulted in a garbage time empty-netter by Noel Acciari.
Allen resumed in goal, only to give up the fourth power-play goal of the game to Marcus Johansson with 1:25 left to go.
The good news for the Blues is that Oskar Sundqvist will return for Game 4 after serving his one-game suspension for elbowing Matt Grzelcyk in the head in Game 2. Entering Saturday, the center led the Blues in plus-minus rating at eight and has scored four goals this postseason.
The Blues will look to inject life back into Enterprise Center with Monday's Game 4, set for an 8 p.m. ET start.