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Stanley Cup Final

Blues control emotions in Game 4 of Stanley Cup Final

Cut down on penalties without reducing physicality to even series against Bruins

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues received the message about penalties loud and clear for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

After giving the Boston Bruins 14 power plays through the first three games of the series, resulting in six goals-against, the Blues went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and tied the best-of-7 Cup Final with a 4-2 victory at Enterprise Center on Monday.

Game 5 is at Boston on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

 

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"We wanted to make sure we were extremely disciplined," Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said after their first win at home in a Cup Final. "We came out, worked hard, worked for the puck and worked for the game. We wanted to make sure we weren't taking penalties that fed into their offense or fed into their game.

"Obviously, we understood how good their power play was last game, and we know how good it is and we were aware of that before the series."

In Game 3, a 7-2 loss for St. Louis, Boston went 4-for-4 on the power play on four shots on goal.

Video: The Blues flipped the script in Game 4

The Blues were much more disciplined in Game 4. The only power plays they allowed came off a delay of game penalty by Parayko in the second period and a high-sticking penalty on defenseman Jay Bouwmeester in the third. During the two penalty kills, St. Louis allowed one shot on goal.

However, the increase in discipline did not mean the Blues went soft. They forced the issue physically throughout the game but toned down their aggression after every whistle, eliminating the extra face washes and chatter.

But the Blues continued to hit. They have outhit the Bruins in each game of the series, including a 44-41 advantage Monday.

"We've done that all playoffs long," Blues forward Pat Maroon said. "I think our penalties come with stick work and offensive-zone penalties. We've continued to hit. We don't take penalties from hitting. The only penalty we've taken that was a hitting penalty was [Oskar Sundqvist's] (a Game 2 boarding penalty on Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk that resulted in a one-game suspension).

"Other than that, we have to stay physical, stay on it. I thought we had really good sticks tonight, too."

Video: BOS@STL, Gm4: Berube on team's relentlessness in win

Sundqvist, who had four hits in his return from the suspension, said the Blues focused on hustle and body position to improve their game and discipline.

"I think we moved our feet more," he said. "We didn't use our sticks; that's what we were doing last game trying to slow them down. We moved our feet and we checked with the sticks on the ice. This is what we need to do the next game and the game after that. We can't be in the penalty box too much against this team."

The result was a major shift in effectiveness for St. Louis, which will try to execute the same game plan in Boston.

"We were physical when we had to be and we laid off when we needed to," Blues forward Zach Sanford said. "If we keep going like that, it's a great style of hockey."

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