ST. LOUIS - With Matt Grzelcyk sidelined by injury, John Moore will make his return to the lineup on Saturday night as the Stanley Cup Final shifts to St. Louis for Game 3. Moore, who has played five games this postseason, will slide in alongside Connor Clifton on Boston's third pairing.
"As a team, we've had the next man up mentality all year," said Moore, who last played in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against Carolina. "It's not John Moore against the St. Louis Blues. The strength of our team is how together and how tight-knit this group has been. So really, I'm just focused on coming in and doing my job and helping the team win."
While Moore battled with injuries toward the end of the season and struggled to find a spot in the lineup during the B's run to the Final, the 28-year-old is making sure to embrace his opportunity.
"You can shape the narrative in a variety of different ways," said Moore, who had four goals and 13 points in 61 regular-season contests. "But right now I have an opportunity in the Stanley Cup Final and if you would have told me that in the summer, I would have signed up for that 100 ties out of 100. I'm ecstatic to be in. Obviously I hate to see Grizz go down, but now it's my time to go to work."
Video: Bergeron and Moore talk to media ahead of Game 3
Torey Krug, who partnered with Moore at times during the regular season, believes Moore's competiveness and drive will be strong assets for Boston's defense corps on Saturday night.
"Johnny's just been steady for us all season," said Krug. "The way he skates, he's a bigger body, and he compete like crazy. You have a guy like that who steps into a lineup in the playoffs, he's done it in every series so far where he's shown up big.
"It's tough for him not to be playing every single day, then you've got to step in at the highest pace possible and play some really tough hockey. He's a warrior and we're glad to have him."
Video: Krug discusses being on the road for Game 3
The Blues will be hosting their first Stanley Cup Final game since May 5, 1970 on Saturday night. And after that 49-year wait, it is sure to be an electric atmosphere inside the Enterprise Center.
But after playing in rowdy buildings in Toronto, Columbus, and Carolina during the first three rounds of the playoffs, the Bruins are not planning to be intimidated.
"Usually we have an on-time start, it leads to a lead," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "It's easier to play with the lead on the road. The other team doesn't have to, but they tend to want to open up a little more, get the crowd behind them…the fact that we have older guys that have been around that are comfortable in every environment, we're not fazed by it.
"And team defense. I think Tuukka's been real solid on the road as well. You put those three things together and you have a pretty good chance of having success."
And that they have. The Bruins are 6-2 on the road this postseason, having won at least two games away from TD Garden in every series thus far, including series-clinching victories in Columbus and Carolina. St. Louis is 5-5 at home in the playoffs.
"I think we spend a lot of time with each other at the rink, away from the rink," said Krug. "That brotherly bond is special for sure. I think from a hockey standpoint we play at our best when we're on the road because we simplify things and guys aren't worried about making things look pretty.
"We just do the dirty work. We take a lot of pride in being a gritty, greasy team. Hopefully that's what we see tonight."
Video: Johansson talks the confidence level for Game 3
While the Bruins will be looking to rebound from their Game 2 loss to grab a 2-1 series lead, Boston's top line will also be aiming to right the ship. Through two games in the series, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak have combined for just two points - Marchand's empty-netter in Game 1 and Pastrnak's assist in Game 2.
"We know what to do better and it's just on us to execute it," said Pastrnak. "It's gonna bounce our way pretty soon…I think we've still gotten some chances. It's more about getting those second opportunity. We're playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, it's a pretty good team right now…for us, it's more get the puck after rebounds and that's when stuff opens."
"We obviously know that we've got to be better," said Bergeron. "Bottom line is we have to take care of the puck, first and foremost, especially in our zone and then go on the offense. I think simplify our game is usually been key for us to finding our ways a little bit. It goes back to that. Yeah, we're playing a good team, we've been playing good teams all along. I think it's about us being better."
Video: Pastrnak and top line looking to break through
With Oskar Sundqvist suspended for his hit on Grzelcyk in Game 2, New Hampshire native and Boston College alum Zach Sanford - who grew up as a big Bruins fan - will be in the lineup for the Blues, per coach Craig Berube. Forward Robert Thomas will miss his second straight game with injury, with Robby Fabbri taking his place.
Saturday's Projected Lineup
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - David Backes
Marcus Johansson - Charlie Coyle - Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
John Moore - Connor Clifton
Scratches: Matt Grzelcyk (injured), Steven Kampfer, Karson Kuhlman, and Chris Wagner (arm).
Video: John Moore is in, top line looking to break through