ST. LOUIS — The Boston Bruins’ best players took the criticism to heart.
They were told they had not been good enough through the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals and needed to be better. And they were.
The stars led Boston to a 7-2 rout of the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Defenseman Torey Krug scored a goal and had three assists, the top-line center Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand got on the scoresheet, and the power-play unit was 4 for 4 — on four shots.
“It’s about time we get going,” said Pastrnak, who along with Marchard and Bergeron had no even-strength points in the first two games. “I still think we haven’t played our best. But we are up, 2-1. and we need to meet tomorrow, look at the video and get even better.”
Boston chased goaltender Jordan Binnington and silenced the actor and Blues superfan Jon Hamm and a raucous crowd that was fired up for the first finals game in St. Louis in 49 years. The Bruins held off an initial onslaught and then took it to the home team.
“We’ve been through so much together this year that we just rely on one another in uncomfortable situations,” said Marchand, who assisted on Krug’s goal. “When we get through it, we get through it together.”
Game 4 is scheduled for Monday night.
Tuukka Rask was solid as usual in goal with 27 saves, and the Bruins continued to receive contributions all over their lineup. The trade-deadline pickup Charlie Coyle continued his hot run with his eighth goal of the playoffs, the fourth-liner Sean Kuraly had his second score in three games, and Marcus Johansson added goal No. 7 in the final minutes.
“It’s fun to see everyone contribute,” Johansson said. “I don’t think anyone cares who scores or what, but it’s fun to see everyone contribute.”
That recipe for success has the Bruins two victories from their first Stanley Cup since 2011 and Boston’s third championship in a row in the four major North American professional sports.
The Blues came out flat and continued a troubling trend of parading to the penalty box. After being the least penalized team through the first three rounds of the playoffs, St. Louis took six more minors on Saturday for a total of 16 in the finals.
Maintaining discipline was Coach Craig Berube’s focus in a charged atmosphere that delivered on all the hype. His players did not practice what he preached, and even Berube’s staff incurred a penalty for unsuccessfully challenging Kuraly’s goal as offside with 7.8 seconds left in the first period.
Just about everything went wrong for the Blues, who put the backup Jake Allen into the game with about eight minutes left in the second period. He gave up one goal on four shots.
Binnington allowed five goals on 19 shots before getting the hook for the first time in his N.H.L. career, but he will almost certainly be back in net for Game 4.
“I’ve got to be better,” Binnington said. “I got to do a better job giving my team a chance to win. They scored three goals in the first. That’s never good. They’re a good hockey team. We have to get back to our game.”
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