Heading into Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, it might be fair to call the first couple of games a wash.
The Blues were thoroughly outclassed in a Game 1 that went to the favored Bruins, but St. Louis looked much better in a Game 2 overtime victory that evened the Cup Final before it shifted to Missouri. The dramatic victory in Game 2 gave the Blues their first Cup Final win in 14 tries and provided some confidence as they headed back to their own barn.
After getting next-to-nothing offensively in the series opener, the Blues looked much more potent offensively and were able to get more sustained pressure in the O-zone in Game 2. They were also tighter on the defensive end and did a better job with their gap control to take away time and space for the Bruins' attack.
But just as the Blues have proven to be resilient this year, that's also a quality the Bruins possess. They'll be looking to bounce back from a poor Game 2 showing and bring a little more urgency and effectiveness in Game 3. One area of Boston's lineup that needs to be significantly better is the top line. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have all been on the ice for three goals against, zero goals for at 5-on-5 in the series to this point, which is not a great recipe for success for the Bruins.
We'll see if these two teams have moved past the feeling-out period of the series and bring more of a strength-versus-strength look on Saturday.
Check back in during and after Game 3 for updates and analysis of the action.
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After a frustrating loss in Game 2, the Bruins needed to make a strong statement out of the gate in Game 3. Mission accomplished. The Blues may have been the better team for the first five minutes and change but the Bruins got stronger as the period went along and by the end of the opening 20 minutes Boston held a 3-0 lead.
The first tally came on a power play goal from Patrice Bergeron, whose health status was in question coming into this game. He didn't look too bothered on the great deflection that found its way past Jordan Binnington.
Later in the period, the Bruins' excellent third line struck when Marcus Johansson found Charlie Coyle with a great feed on the rush. Coyle delivered with a one-timer past Binnington.
Then, to cap off the period, Sean Kuraly put a shot past Binnington to make it 3-0. The entry was challenged for an offside and it looked like the goal might be reversed but officials determined that a Blues player put the puck back into the zone, nullifying a would-be offside and counting the goal for the Bruins. We head into first intermission with a 3-0 Boston lead.