Bruins take 2-1 lead over Blues in Stanley Cup Final
The Boston Bruins routed the St Louis Blues 7-2 in Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final.
Boston were not intimidated by the raucous atmosphere at the Enterprise Center in St Louis, where the Bruins earned a 2-1 series lead.
The Bruins came out and scored three goals in the first period, including one in the final minute, and rode that momentum on Saturday.
This was the first Stanley Cup Final game played in St Louis in 49 years and the fans were buzzing, but Boston did not care. The Bruins cared so little that they scored on their first three power-play opportunities and ran goalie Jordan Binnington for the first time in his young career.
Here are the three takeaways from Bruins' Game 3 win over the Blues.
Dictating the game
Boston came into Game 3 knowing one thing for sure: If they did not dictate the game in the faceoff circle it was going to be a long night. Ryan O'Reilly dominated the circle in Game 2 – winning 65 per cent of his opportunities in the faceoff. He did much of that against Patrice Bergeron, who happens to be one of the best at faceoffs in the NHL.
Faceoffs were a big reason why St Louis were successful down the stretch in Game 2 and the Bruins knew they had to clean it up. It was early in Game 3 when they started the game winning 15 of the first 24 faceoffs and scored their first goal off a faceoff win by Bergeron on O'Reilly.
This was the 100th career postseason point for Bergeron and it got Boston off on the right foot for the rest of the game.
The Bruins were up 3-0 after the first period and 5-1 midway through the second. They dictated this game from the beginning by winning those 50/50 plays when they needed to and it led to a victory.
Shades of February
When the Bruins acquired Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild in February, they knew they were going to get a winger who could help the team's depth and maybe score a bit in the playoffs. We are pretty sure they did not think they were going to recruit an individual who looks like the team's best player in the Stanley Cup Final.
we all know Tuukka Rask and Bergeron have been the best players in the postseason for Boston, but what Coyle has done cannot be ignored. He scored his third goal of the finals in the first period on Saturday, which leads Boston for the series, and now has eight goals in the playoffs.
Coyle now only trails David Pastrnak and Bergeron in goals for the Bruins this postseason, and the only reason he does is because those two players scored goals in Game 3 as well. Coyle has not just been a nice addition, he has turned into a weapon for Boston and is a huge reason why the team are leading 2-1.
Bruins' special teams truly are special
It may start sounding like a broken record, but the fact is the Bruins' power play and penalty kill are a huge reason why they are ahead.
In Game 3, the Bruins went four for four on the power play and are now six for 14 in the series. Even tougher for St Louis though, the Blues went 0 for two on their special-team chances through the first two periods which is effectively a five-goal swing in the game.
Boston's penalty kill has been absolutely stellar this postseason. They came into Game 3 having held their opponent without a goal on 28 of 29 opportunities. Through two periods on Saturday, they were 30 of 31. They finished the game 31 of 33 on the penalty kill but St Louis still went one for five in the game.
If St Louis cannot get their power play going and stop Boston's down the stretch of this series, they will lose.