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5 Keys: Bruins at Blues, Game 4

Rask must remain composed for Boston; St. Louis needs to be better on penalty kill, face-offs

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer


8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS

Boston leads best-of-7 series 2-1

ST. LOUIS -- The Boston Bruins seek their sixth straight road win and a 3-1 series lead against the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center on Monday.

The Bruins haven't lost on the road since Game 3 against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference Second Round on April 30. They extended their road winning streak by defeating the Blues 7-2 in Game 3 on Saturday thanks to four power-play goals on four shots.

St. Louis is 6-2 after a loss in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and has won its past four such games, including Game 2 against the Bruins after losing Game 1.


[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage]


"Calmness," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "I thought we were a lot more calm and business-like in Game 2 in Boston. Game 3 here, again, a lot of emotion, being at home, everything, the crowd and all of that. There was a different feel for it, and I feel today that we're calm again and in that spot."

The team that wins Game 4 to take a 3-1 lead in the Cup Final has gone on to win the Stanley Cup 27 out of 27 times since the NHL went to the best-of-7 format in 1939.

Here are 5 keys to Game 4:


1. Binnington's bounce back

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington is 6-2 with a 1.84 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in eight games following a loss in the playoffs. However, Game 4 will be the first time in his NHL career that he has to start a game after getting pulled in the previous game. 
Binnington was pulled with 7:48 remaining in the second period of Game 3 after allowing five goals on 19 shots. It was the first time in 52 NHL starts (regular season and playoffs) that he was pulled from a game.

"Same old story, right? Just prepare the same way," Binnington said. "As a goalie, things are going to happen, it's not always going to be perfect and you've got to regroup, pick yourself back up and move on to the next game."

Video: News and notes ahead of Game 4 of the SCF


2. Rask's composure

It looked like the Blues, particularly forward David Perron, were trying to get under Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask's skin in Game 3, trying to frustrate him so he would retaliate and get thrown off his game or take a penalty.

Rask maintained his composure, which is a sign of significant growth from an emotional goalie who has had outbursts in the past.
He has instead been poised and in control throughout the playoffs and it's imperative he stays that way because it's unlikely the Blues are going to stop trying to frustrate him.

"He's just focused on stopping the puck, not worrying about the sideshow stuff," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "He's done a real good job with that."


3. Blues' discipline

The Blues lack of discipline has been a topic all series, but now it is in an even bigger way because of the Bruins dominance on the power play in Game 3, when they were 4-for-4 on the power play to improve to 6-for-14 in the series and 13-for-29 in the past seven games.
Berube repeatedly mentioned how the Blues were the least penalized team in the League through the first three rounds (6.32 PIMs per game), but that doesn't matter anymore. 

"Stay out of the box," Berube said.


4. Bruins' breakouts

The Bruins beat the Blues' aggressive and physical forecheck in Game 3 by breaking the puck out of the defensive zone with speed. They weren't as fast or clean with their breakouts in Game 2, so the Blues got their forecheck set up and took command of the game.

Clearly, it makes a big difference.

"Our guys have got to be ready to support the puck, break the puck out in a hurry because they always want to establish forecheck," Cassidy said. "We did a better job of that [in Game 3]. Some of that was just getting it out in the neutral zone in the foot races. The [Sean] Kuraly goal was a result of that. We tried to back them off, but if they're going to finish hard, then let's make them turn, go back before they can hit us." 


5. O'Reilly at the dot

Blues center Ryan O'Reilly is typically one of the best at the face-off dot in the NHL, but he's going up against another top face-off center in Patrice Bergeron, who had his number in Game 3.

O'Reilly went 2-for-8 in face-offs against Bergeron, including 1-for-3 shorthanded. Both losses led to the possession that led to the Bruins scoring on the power play. O'Reilly is 10-for-24 (41.7 percent) against Bergeron in the series and 31-for-63 overall (49.2 percent)

"He'll be better next game," Berube said of O'Reilly. "I'll bet on that."


Bruins 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

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Steven Kampfer, Karson Kuhlman

Injured: Matt Grzelcyk (concussion protocol) Chris Wagner (upper body), Kevan Miller (lower body)


Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Zach Sanford -- Ryan O'Reilly -- David Perron

Pat Maroon -- Tyler Bozak -- Sammy Blais

Ivan Barbashev -- Oskar Sundqvist -- Alexander Steen

Joel Edmundson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester -- Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn -- Carl Gunnarsson

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Robby Fabbri, Michael Del Zotto, Mackenzie MacEachern, Chris Thorburn, Ville Husso

Injured: Robert Thomas (undisclosed)


Status report 

Dunn will play for the first time since May 15, when he sustained an injury taking a shot off his face in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks. He will replace Bortuzzo, who has played in nine straight games. … Sundqvist will return after missing Game 3 because of a suspension. He will replace Fabbri, who played in the past two games. ... Sanford will move up to play on the second line after playing on the fourth line in Game 3. … Grzelcyk is in Boston. Cassidy said he's improving and there's still a chance he could return in the series.

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