Throughout the Stanley Cup Final, the St. Louis Blues have spoken repeatedly of playing a disciplined game and staying out of the penalty box. Yet when the Boston Bruins appear on the ice, St. Louis struggles to play physically without taking penalties.
It killed the Blues on Saturday night, when Boston went 4-for-4 on the power play in a 7-2 Game 3 win to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. If St. Louis wants to win Game 4 at home Monday and tie the series, it can't afford to give the Bruins four or five more chances.
Not only was Boston perfect with the man advantage, it needed only four shots to score four goals. Its four power plays lasted a total of 2:06. Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Torey Krug and Marcus Johansson each potted man-advantage markers as the Bruins won faceoffs, moved the puck and buried their chances.
The Blues' identity is that of a physical team which, over the course of a game or series, wears an opponent down. The difference between this series and the first three playoff rounds is that they have taken 14 minors in three games, compared to an average of just under three per game en route to the Western Conference title.
The Blues need rookie goalie Jordan Binnington to return to the form that made them a championship contender. Binnington ceded five goals on 19 shots before getting the hook for Jake Allen after Krug's goal. Only one of those tallies could be blamed entirely on Binnington, who got little help from his defense.