For the St. Louis Blues, Game Three was supposed to be an opportunity. An opportunity to win, to experience the Stanley Cup Final at home for the first time since 1970, an opportunity to play “Gloria.”
But the Boston Bruins, as they’ve done throughout this year’s playoffs, had something to say about it and blew out the Blues with a 7-2 victory. The home crowd was deflated, heading out into the rain with little to show for themselves.
The contest also left Blues starter Jordan Binnington looking disappointingly human. He was pulled from the net after allowing five goals in scarcely a period and a half of action, marking the first time he’s been benched in these playoffs. Jake Allen was his replacement, but the game was already well at hand for the Bruins by that point.
While Boston was again outshot in the contest by the Blues, it didn’t matter. The Bears exacted their will on the power play in particular, going four for four on the man advantage and producing seemingly at will.
The Blues, conversely, were one for five with the man advantage.
The narrative through the three games of these Stanley Cup Finals has been for St. Louis to avoid the penalty box because the Bruins will make them pay. That was certainly an issue tonight, to say the least, and the Blues are going to have to find an option. Quick.
Boston held the edge in faceoffs and in blocked shots, while the Blues outhit the visitors.
Still, the Bruins just did everything right Saturday night and that’s all there is to it. They take a 2-1 series lead into Game Four Monday in St. Louis and will have every opportunity to seize a stranglehold on their way to another Cup victory.
Not only is Boston operating on all cylinders on the power play, their top line is clicking along. Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand accounted for five points in Game Three and vastly improved their play in five-on-five situations, where they had exactly zero points in the first two games of the series.
The Bruins have outscored the Blues 13-7 in the Stanley Cup Final and, by all accounts, look on their way to a five-game series victory. They should be able to ice this thing out at home in Game Five, which is exactly what they want to do.
If the Blues have anything to say about it, they’ll have to get their act in gear for Game Four. That’s an absolute must-win situation, to say the least.
(Photo credit: NHL.com)