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Krug's Historic Night Lifts Bruins to Series Lead

Blue liner becomes first in franchise history with four points in Stanley Cup Final game

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

ST. LOUIS - Torey Krug wasn't quite ready to contemplate his place in Bruins history on Saturday night. Give him a couple of weeks, he said, and he'll be able to provide a better answer.

For the time being, Krug's focus is not on individual accolades, but instead on helping Boston take home its seventh Stanley Cup.

The blue liner helped bring his team one step closer to that ultimate prize in Game 3 with a historic four-point (goal, three assists) performance in the Bruins' convincing 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center to grab a 2-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

The four points made Krug the first player - no, not even Bobby Orr did it - in Bruins history to accomplish that feat in a Stanley Cup Final contest.

"I'd say probably ask me again in a week or so when you can really look back and take it all in," Krug, who played 22:09, said of the accolade. "But Bobby Orr is probably the greatest influencer in the game of hockey. You really can't compare yourself in any way, shape, or form."

Video: Krug makes history with four point game

Everyone would agree - though Krug's influence on Boston's victory was pretty significant, to say the least. All four of his points - including three primary helpers - came on the Bruins' power play, which after going 2 for 10 over the first two games of the Final, posted a perfect 4 for 4 showing on just four shots. The league record for power-play goals in a single Stanley Cup Final game is five, set by the 1980 New York Islanders.

"I think it was just a night that everything went right," said Krug, who played in his ninth career Cup Final game. "Tried to be more decisive and assertive, getting pucks to the net after one or two passes. The fact that we knew that someone was gonna shoot the puck off of one or two passes, we allowed our guys to just get to the net in front of the goaltender's eyes and recovered the puck if there's a rebound to be had. Assertiveness and good decision making."

With Krug as its quarterback, Boston's power play is approaching record-breaking territory. Of teams that have played a minimum of 15 postseason games, the Bruins' PP ranks second all time (35.9%), just behind the 1981 New York Islanders (37.8%), according to Sportsnet. Boston is clicking at a 50% rate (14 for 28) on the road during the playoffs and has now scored a power-play marker in seven straight games, tying the longest streak in team history (1999).

"I think in terms of confidence, they know that they have the ability to score and generate offense," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "They hadn't in the first two games, very small sample size. It was talked about, [the top line] not going offensively. One of the ways you get going offensively is to finish your chances and get going on the power play. We've talked about it. Most skill guys, they start feeling things on the power play and things start to happen, it starts to bleed into five-on-five."

Video: BOS@STL, Gm3: Bruins score four PPGs on four shots

Of Krug's 16 points this postseason - he's tied with Patrice Bergeron for third on the team in scoring behind Brad Marchand (20) and David Pastrnak (17) - 11 have come on the power play, which is tied with Marchand for the league lead.

The 28-year-old was immense in Game 3, with his nifty slap pass to Bergeron kick starting off Boston's offensive explosion. Krug found Bergeron outside the left post, where the center tipped it home to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 10:47 of the first.

Following goals from Charlie Coyle and Sean Kuraly put Boston up 3-0 after 20 minutes, Krug was at it again early in the second. With St. Louis shorthanded after losing an offsides challenge on Kuraly's tally, Krug found Pastrnak on the doorstep and the winger finished with a nifty backhand by Blues goalie Jordan Binnington to extend the B's advantage to 4-0 just 41 seconds into the middle frame.

Krug then added a goal of his own - his second of the postseason - when he took a Marchand feed and beat Binnginton with a wrister from the top of the left circle with 7:48 left in the second to put Boston ahead 5-1.

Video: BOS@STL,Gm3: Krug nets Bruins' third PPG

The Michigan native finished his remarkable evening with a nifty no-look helper on Marcus Johansson's power-play tally with 1:25 left to make it 7-2 and put a bow on the Bruins' victory.

"He was great, making plays happen even in our own zone, getting the puck out, skating and really seeing forwards open and findings ways to get the puck to us," said Bergeron, whose three-point night tied him with Phil Esposito for second on the Bruins' all-time postseason scoring list.

"On the power play he was making some tremendous plays to find us. He's been huge for us all year."

And while Krug's offensive fireworks have certainly captured the headlines, Cassidy made sure to point out that his all-around play alongside Brandon Carlo this spring has been a massive factor in the Bruins' success.

"Hopefully not in Boston, certainly not in our locker room, never has been," Cassidy said when asked if Krug was underappreciated. "He's an offensive defenseman, power-play specialist. I think people don't realize how hard he is when he plays that physical game. He does play big minutes lately against good players with Carlo. That's something that changed a little bit.

"Torey's stepped up and he wanted that responsibility to be a second pair type guy behind Zee playing good lines. He's met the challenge. I think he's done a really good job and might still fly under the radar because he's still getting his points on the power play."

Video: BOS@STL, Gm3: Bergeron buries PPG to open scoring

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