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Four keys to Game 3 vs. Boston

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues


When: Saturday, June 1 at 7 p.m.
Watch: NBC Sports Network, NBC Sports App
Listen: KMOX 1120 AM, NHL App

Best-of-seven series tied, 1-1

Here are four keys for success for the Blues in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against Boston:

1. Overcome another obstacle

The NHL Department of Player Safety handed down a one-game suspension for Oskar Sundqvist on Thursday. Sundqvist hit Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk in the first period of Game 2 and Grzelcyk has reportedly not traveled with the Bruins to St. Louis.

The Blues' depth has been key throughout the playoffs, and it will be tested now with Sundqvist out and possibly Robert Thomas still sidelined with an injury.

Blues Head Coach Craig Berube has options, though. Zach Sanford is available and brings size and speed, Jordan Nolan could provide more physicality and brings a wealth of Stanley Cup Playoffs experience and Mackenzie MacEachern played some valuable fourth-line minutes for the Blues in the regular season.

Who will he choose? We'll find out Saturday.

2. Frustrate Boston's power play

Entering the series, the Bruins' had the top-ranked power play in the playoffs with a 34 percent success rate (17-for-50).

Through two games in this series, the Bruins' power-play opportunities have outnumbered the Blues 10-4, but St. Louis has limited Boston to just two power-play goals.

Perhaps most importantly, the Blues killed off a critical Boston power play in the later stages of the third period in Game 2 to keep the game tied long enough for Carl Gunnarsson to be the hero in overtime.

To get a lead in the series, the Blues will need to limit Boston's power-play chances.

Video: Pang, Vitale preview Game 3 vs. Boston

3. Keep Boston's top line in check

The line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak had scored 38.6 percent of Boston's goals in the playoffs (22 of 57) entering the Stanley Cup Final. Through two games, the Blues have done an incredible job of keeping that line in check, surrendering only an empty-net goal to Marchand in Game 1.

The Bruins set a franchise record by having 19 players score in the postseason, so the Blues will need to worry about Boston's secondary scoring, too - but keeping Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak off the scoresheet will remain a major key to success.

4. Use the crowd to your advantage

Fans in St. Louis have waited 49 years for the return of the Stanley Cup Final, and the anticipation for Game 3 have hit an unbelievable high.

Watch parties at Enterprise Center were sold out for Games 1 and 2, and when tickets went on sale for the Game 5 watch party Friday, they sold out in less than two hours.

"It's going to be awesome," Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson said of returning home for the Stanley Cup Final. "Everyone's excited to bring this home. We've seen the pictures and the videos from Enterprise Center for the first two games and we're not even playing there."

"It's great for the city and the fans," added Berube. "We're excited for them, waiting a long time for this game. It's going to be exciting. I'm really happy for the fans and the city, for sure."

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