The Boston Bruins Left No Doubt As They Outplayed The St. Louis Blues In Game 3
Downtown St. Louis was rocking for the first Stanley Cup Final game in 49 years, with thousands upon thousands of people packed the different venues in the downtown area. There was a buzz in the air.
That excitement died after one period as the Boston Bruins took a commanding 3-0 leading heading into the first intermission. The game started out well enough for St. Louis as they came out strong, including Sammy Blais landing a massive hit on David Backes and Jake Debrusk took a penalty for kneeing almost right away. That sound you heard when the penalty was called was from Toronto, with Maple Leafs fans yelling FINALLY!!!.
The Bruins held strong on the penalty kill though, and finally got a shot through on Jordan Binnington with 13:57 left in the first from Torey Krug, who had an excellent game.
Blues fans went crazy as Binnington made an incredible save off the stick of David Pastrnak. That was when Boston really started to dominate as David Perron took a penalty for interfering with Brandon Carlo and the Bruins power play went to to work. Krug got a shot off and Patrice Bergeron tipped it in for his ninth of the playoffs.
Boston continued to control the play and with 2:20 left in the first, Charlie Coyle continued his strong playoff as he flipped one through the legs of Binnington to put the Bruins up 2-0. A couple of minutes later, Sean Kuraly put one in right before the end of the period and it was 3-0 and the crowd was deflated. The Blues challenged it for offside, which proved to be the wrong choice and the goal stood and the Bruins went back on the power play just as the first period ended.
With another power play the Bruins went to work and Pastrnak scored, making that four goals in the last five shots for the Bruins. Things starting getting chippy after that and after every whistle it seemed as if there was white sweater and blue sweater face to face, yapping at each other.
The Blues had their chance on the power play as Zdeno Chara went off for an unsportsmanlike conduct call. Tyler Bozak had a prime opportunity in front of the net and Tuukka Rask made a nice save pushing it aside.
The St. Louis crowd had something to cheer about though as Ivan Barbashev potted one off a nice feed from Zach Sanford and it was now 4-1. The Blues crowd tried to will their team to get back into it but Colton Parayko took a penalty for high sticking Brad Marchand, and Krug scored on a shot Binnington would like back and it was 5-1.
For the first time in his young National Hockey League career, Binnington was pulled and replaced by Jake Allen. Play went back and forth for a little bit after that but the Blues were unable to beat Rask with anything and the Bruins took that 5-1 lead into the third period.
If you thought things were getting chippy before, Perron took a roughing call against Rask in a play that was very unnecessary from the Blues forward, who had a very rough game. Connor Clifton, however, took a matching minor so the Bruins were unable to put their lethal power play back on the ice.
The Bruins penalty kill was able to kill off a penalty called on Carlo but were put right back on it with Chara getting sent to the box for roughing. Parayko gave Blues fans a ray of hope when he was able to put one in off a Bruin glove and it flipped over Rask cutting the lead to 5-2.
DeBrusk then flipped one over the glass and got sent to the box for a Delay of Game penalty and many were wondering if the Blues were really going to be able to make this a game again. It wasn’t meant to be though as the Boston penalty kill was outstanding once again.
Things seem to stay under control for a little while and the Blues pulled Allen for an extra attacker, trying to get back into the game. St. Louis was able to put a little pressure on Rask, but he was up to the task and Noel Acciari got the empty netter to extend the lead to 6-2. Alex Pietrangelo was called for slashing and the Bruins put an exclamation point on this dominant performance when Marcus Johansson scored the final goal of the game in a 7-2 final giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead in this best of seven series.
The only good news for Blues fans is that even though Boston dominated, it only counts for one game and if your a Bruin fan you have to beaming with confidence after one the biggest beat downs in recent memory in the Stanley Cup Final. Another effort like that on Monday and the Bruins will have a chance to end this next week at the TD Garden in Boston.
We have seen the Blues and Binnington bounce back after tough losses and they will need to do so again in a must win game at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis Monday evening.
The Bruins went 4-4 on the power play and it only took four shots, which is unacceptable from an NHL team, but also goes to show how great this Bruins team is. Rask wasn’t unbelievable in Game 3, but came up big when the Bruins need him too, stopping 27 of 29 shots. Binnington was pulled after only stopping 14 of 19 shots and Allen in relief duty stopped three of the four shots he faced.
Krug had a four-point night with a goal and three assists and after a quiet first couple of games, Bergeron came on strong with a goal and two assists.
Game 4 is set for Monday at 8:00 E.T. in what will be a must-win for the Blues, or Boston will take a commanding 3-1 lead.
All statistics were gained from NHL.com
Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals