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Stanley Cup Final

Bruins not fazed by crowd, spoil return of Stanley Cup Final to St. Louis

Dominate Game 3, first in championship round hosted by Blues in 49 years

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

ST. LOUIS -- Bob Plager. Bernie Federko. Alex Pietrangelo. Brett Hull. Chris Pronger. The St. Louis Blues of the past and present addressed the fans on the scoreboard screen before Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center on Saturday.

They talked about history, pride, unity, dreams, relentlessness. This was for the fans, parents, alumni, players. This was their chance to make the world take notice and finish the story they started. They shook off the doubters, said they wouldn't let up, said they wouldn't give in.

Plager, who played for the Blues in the Cup Final in 1968, 1969 and 1970, got the last word before the first Cup Final game in St. Louis in 49 years.

 

[WATCH: Bruins vs. Blues Game 3 highlights | Complete series coverage]

 

"It's been a long time, but the wait is over," Plager said. "Hey, buddy, we're back."

It was awesome, inspiring. When the Boston Bruins starting lineup was introduced, the fans drowned out the names with loud chants of, "Let's go Blues!"

Problem was, the Bruins were back too.

Video: Barry Melrose reacts to the Bruins' huge Game 3 win

After all the buildup, the Bruins defeated the Blues 7-2, rebounding from a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 2. They went 4-on-4 on four shots on the power play; scored five goals on 19 shots on goalie Jordan Binnington, who got pulled for the first time with St. Louis; won for the ninth time in 10 games; and set a team record with their seventh road win of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

At the end of the night, the Blues didn't play their victory anthem, "Gloria." Instead, the organist played "Look on the Bright Side of Life." Boston leads the best-of-7 series 2-1 with Game 4 here Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"It's been a long time for them," Bruins center Charlie Coyle said. "The crowd was awesome right at the start. It was a really cool atmosphere. We just want to focus on our game, and we play our game and come out that way and kind of maybe quiet them down a little bit."

Severe weather canceled the viewing party on Market Street outside before the game started. Then, after the Blues started strong and took the first five shots, the Bruins canceled the viewing party inside.

They outshot the Blues 12-3 the rest of the first period and took a 3-0 lead. After the Blues lost an offside challenge and took a penalty because of it, the Bruins made it 4-0 on the power play 41 seconds into the second period.

Game over.

Despite physical, chippy play, the Bruins kept their composure, refusing to be drawn into much, and kept pouring it on.

Unlike the Blues, the Bruins have leaders who have been here before and set the tone for their teammates. Goalie Tuukka Rask, defenseman Zdeno Chara and forwards Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand won the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011. They returned to the Cup Final in 2013.

Video: Krug, Bruins finish perfect on power play in Game 3

They are not intimidated by loud crowds, not impressed by athletes, actors and actresses on the scoreboard screen, even Patrick Mahomes, Jon Hamm and Jenna Fischer. Rally towels that say "LET'S MAKE HISTORY"? They've made it already.

On Friday, Marchand grew tired of questions about how the Bruins would handle the crowd, and he grew tired of questions Saturday about how the Bruins had handled it. He said the Vegas Golden Knights had more energy in warmups than any other team in the NHL.

"So, yeah, it's loud in here," Marchand said. "It's fun. It's loud in every building in the playoffs. So, again, when you get on the ice, [the fans] mean nothing. [The noise] means nothing. You play the game on the ice. They're not out there stopping [pucks] or scoring goals. It's what's played on the ice. That's what we're worried about. We worried about the team that we're playing. We're worried about our team in here and not how loud the rink is."

A reporter pressed, asking if Marchand found satisfaction in silencing the crowd. Marchand sighed.

"Again, it's not something you worry about," Marchand said. "We don't play the game to silence the crowd. We don't play the game to pump up the crowd. We play the game to win. Again, we got the win tonight. It's over. It's done with. I'm sure they're going to be loud next game. I'm sure it's going to be exciting here. But we're going to try to win the game, not silence the crowd."

Well, the Bruins might enjoy playing the villain, a little.

In the locker room after the game, forward David Pastrnak wore a T-shirt that he said New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman made for the Bruins before the Cup Final. It was black with the gold outline of a growling bear. Inside the outline in white letters, it said in all caps: "BET AGAINST US." It sounded like a dare, though it begs the question:

Who's betting against the Bruins now?

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