Who played well in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final? Sometimes it's easy to tell, sometimes it isn't. NHL.com graded the players in the 7-2 victory by the Boston Bruins against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on Saturday that gave them the lead in the best-of-7 series. Here are the players and trends that stood out the most.
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Torey Krug (Bruins) -- The defenseman was a dynamo and was especially effective on the power play, getting a goal and three assists. His goal at 12:12 of the second period made it 5-1 and ended the night for Blues goalie Jordan Binnington, who was pulled after allowing five goals on 19 shots. Krug has 11 power-play points in 20 Stanley Cup Playoffs games, tied with Bruins forward Brad Marchand for the most in the NHL.
Video: BOS@STL, Gm3: Krug on setting B's record, Game 3 win
Sean Kuraly (Bruins) -- The fourth-line center has been a wrecking ball against the Blues. He has at least one point in each game of the series, and in Game 3 he scored his second goal of the Cup Final with 10 seconds remaining in the first period to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead. Kuraly also scored the game-winning goal in Game 1.
Zach Sanford (Blues) -- The forward replaced Oskar Sundqvist, who was suspended one game by the NHL Department of Player Safety for boarding Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk in Game 2, and was one of the few Blues players to make an impact Saturday. Playing his first game since Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round against the Winnipeg Jets, Sanford had an assist on Ivan Barbashev's goal to go along with one shot, two hits and one block.
Patrice Bergeron (Bruins) -- The top-line center set the tone from the start for Boston after struggling in the first two games. He gave Boston a 1-0 lead at 10:47 of the first period with his NHL-leading seventh power-play goal. Bergeron finished with one goal and two assists and has 102 points (40 goals, 62 assists) in 132 playoff games.
Video: BOS@STL, Gm3: Bergeron on execution in Game 3 win
Zdeno Chara (Bruins) -- The captain was a workhorse in the absence of Grzelcyk. Chara led the Bruins in ice time at 24:32 and helped shelter John Moore (13:09), who replaced Grzelcyk.
Blues pump-up video (up) -- The opening video, featuring current captain Alex Pietrangelo and several prominent alumni, including Chris Pronger and Brett Hull, talking about how far the Blues have come, how long they have waited and how close they are to the ultimate prize, had the crowd in an excited state for the opening puck drop.
Bruins power play (up) -- The Bruins have been lethal with the man-advantage all playoffs, but they took it to another level in Game 3, going 4-for-4 on four shots in 2:06 of total power-play time. It was the fourth time their power play had a 100-percent efficiency in the playoffs, and they are 14-for-28 on the road. The four power-play goals are tied for the second most in a Cup Final game, one behind the five scored by the New York Islanders in Game 3 of the 1980 Final.
Video: BOS@STL, Gm3: Bruins score four PPGs on four shots
Jordan Binnington (down) -- Binnington allowed five goals on 19 shots and was pulled for the first time in his NHL career. The rookie did not allow five goals in 32 regular-season games, but this was the fourth time he has allowed at least five in the playoffs.
Craig Berube (down) -- The St. Louis coach was unsuccessful on an offside challenge on Kuraly's goal with 10 seconds remaining in the first period. He believed that Bruins forward Joakim Nordstrom entered the zone early, but the Situation Room confirmed that Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson passed the puck into the defending zone, meaning the play was onside. To make matters worse, Bruins forward David Pastrnak scored on the ensuing power play 41 seconds into the second period to make it 4-0.
Tuukka Rask (up) -- The Bruins goalie was not asked to do much after the Bruins jumped out to their big lead, but he was integral early on, making four saves on the penalty kill after Jake DeBrusk was called for kneeing at 1:02 of the first period. It is the 14th time in 20 playoff games Rask has allowed two goals or fewer.
Video: BOS@STL, Gm3: Rask on Bruins capitalizing on chances
What we learned
Bruins' adjustments on power play worked
The Bruins realized after Game 2 that the Blues were taking away a lot of what they were trying to do low in the zone on the power play, including the pass to Bergeron in the slot. In Game 3, the power play ran through Krug at the blue line, and three of their power-play goals came from the outside off either a shot or pass. Boston is 6-for-14 on the power play in the series and 13-for-29 in its past seven games.
Blues discipline, PK remain problems
As much as they talk about it, the Blues haven't been able to do much about their discipline in this series. They gave the Bruins four power plays in Game 3 after giving them 10 in the first two games. They were penalized for interference, high-sticking and slashing, and they also gave Boston a power play with a failed challenge for offside. Worse yet, the Blues' problems killing penalties didn't go away.