Tensions boiled over after the Bruins dominated the Blues on the scoresheet. (Photo courtesy: Jamie Squire, Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO – Well, at least the Blues got on the board.
The St. Louis Blues (1-1) and the Boston Bruins (1-1) faced off in game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final in St. Louis for the first time since May 5, 1970. Unfortunately for the home squad, Boston wreaked havoc on their opponents and, after 4 unanswered goals, annihilated the Blues in a 7-2 final.
Jordan Binnington, after an impressive game 2 win, was pulled in the second period after allowing 5 goals on 19 shots. Torey Krug had 4 points for the Bruins, and the top scoring line for Boston combined for 5. Boston takes the 2-1 series lead, with game 4 in St. Louis on Monday at 7pm in Enterprise Center.
The Blues and Bruins picked up right where they left off after game 2: fast and hard-hitting. An early power play for the Blues contributed to some early momentum, but the play of Tuukka Rask and the near-flawless penalty killing of the Bruins kept the puck out of the net.
Bergeron’s 9th of the playoffs was assisted by Torey Krug and Jake Debrusk to put the Bruins up 1-0. The Blues tried to answer with their physicality and defense, but the Bruins were able to brush it off. Later in the first, it was former Wild Charlie Coyle who ripped a clean wrist shot past Binnington’s glove side on the rush.
The goal was Coyle’s 8th of the playoffs, a career-high, and doubled the Bruins’ lead, 2-0. With just over two minutes left in the first, it was all Bruins. Trying to get out of the period alive, the Blues’ defense crumbled, after a turnover and a bad five-hole goal by Sean Kuraly gave the Bruins a 3-0 lead.
The Bruins scored 3 goals on just 5 shots, Kuraly’s 4th of the postseason coming with just 10 seconds left in the period courtesy of Joakim Nordstrom. To make matters worse, the goal was challenged for being offside and failed, resulting in a delay of game penalty for St. Louis. The period ended mercifully with the Blues down 3-0 and being outshot 12-8.
The Blues knew they needed a spark in the second, but the Boston Bruins had other plans. The lethal power play converted yet again, just 41 seconds into the period, with David Pastrnak nailing a backhander into the St. Louis net.
Krug and Bergeron both grabbed their second points of the evening as the Bruins blazed ahead to a 4-0 lead. The Blues still couldn’t convert on their power plays, but they found some life when Zach Sanford, who had not played since round 1, fed Ivan Barbashev who banked a puck in off a Bruins player.
Barbashev’s 3rd of the playoffs was the first Stanley Cup Final goal scored in St. Louis since Frank St. Marseille scored on May 5, 1970. The goal was assisted by Sanford and Alex Steen, and gave the Blues a little life.
That life would be quickly stamped out again by Boston, however, with Torey Krug regaining the 4-goal lead for his team a minute later. A high-sticking penalty was charged to the Blues and the Bruins power play went 3-for-3 shortly after.
The goal was Krug’s 2nd of the playoffs and was assisted by Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. That was all she wrote for Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, and Jake Allen stepped in as his replacement. For not having played at all in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Allen performed well, and kept his cage empty for the remainder of the period.
The frustration was clearly visible on the Blues bench, and the period ended with a very quiet building. The Bruins dominated 5-1 after 2, with the shot total evening 20-20.
With the final period underway, it was desperation mode for the home squad, but the undisciplined play was still costing them. However, Zdeno Chara was charged with roughing early in the third, and the Blues’ dismal power play finally connected.
Colton Parayko’s 2nd of the postseason was assisted by Ryan O’Reilly and Tyler Bozak, cutting the Bruins advantage down to three again. Now, the Blues were finally getting some energy, and threw every chance they got at Tukka Task, but he stood tall for his club as he had all postseason.
St. Louis pulled their netminder with over 5 minutes remaining for a last-ditch comeback, but Boston would have none of it. Noel Acciari was fed perfectly in the neutral zone by Nordstrom, and he didn’t miss the back of the net.
The empty-net goal at 18:12 should have been the final dagger for the game, but the Bruins still weren’t satisfied. After an undisciplined slash by captain Alex Pietrangelo, the Bruins went to the power play one last time, and poured salt in the wound.
Marcus Johansson‘s 4th of the postseason was assisted by Krug and Clifton, giving them 4 power play goals and extending the lead 7-2. The game finally came to an end for the home team, as they exited a silent Enterprise Center being surgically defeated by the Bruins.
Jordan Binnington made 14 saves on 19 shots, while Jake Allen made 3 saves on 4 shots. The Bruins took the 2-1 series lead, with St. Louis needing a desperate rebound.
Coach Craig Berube knew the penalty kill was the major reason for the loss. “There were some deflections. We know they have a dangerous power play… and it burnt us tonight. But in saying that, we gotta be better. Penalty kill’s gotta be better.”
Despite Binnington’s early exit, the Blues knew the loss wasn’t on him. “I thought [Binnington] played well tonight, we just weren’t good enough in front of him,” Ryan O’Reilly commented to media after the game. “We have to take the momentum back. It’s a disappointing game, but it’s having that quick reset and going from there… I think we’re confident that we can respond.”
The Blues and Bruins are in Enterprise again on Monday at 8pm ET, with St. Louis looking to even the series. National coverage is provided by NBC, and radio coverage will be on KMOX 1120.
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