ST. LOUIS -- Staying out of the penalty box has been a challenge for the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins.
They're hoping to figure things out for Game 4 at Enterprise Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVAS, SN), trailing the best-of-7 series 2-1.
The Blues entered the Cup Final as the least-penalized team through three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at 6:32 penalty minutes per game, slightly better than the Bruins at 6:35. But against Boston, St. Louis has committed 17 minor penalties and been shorthanded 14 times while averaging 11:33 penalty minutes per game. The Bruins were 4-for-4 on the power play in a 7-2 win in Game 3 on Saturday and needed 2:06 to score the four goals.
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"Well, there's a few things," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "First of all, we were the least-penalized team in the League in the first three rounds. Now all of a sudden, we've taken 14 penalties in one series. So I don't know.
"I don't buy into all of that, to be honest with you. I think that we could definitely be more composed after the whistle. I think we've let some frustration get in there where we maybe do too much after the whistle, so we'll clean that up for sure. But like I said, we were the least-penalized team in the League coming into this series. I don't agree with all of the calls."
With the rash of penalty minutes in the series, the Blues are now averaging seven minutes per game through 22 playoff games compared to 6:42 in 20 games for the Bruins, who were shorthanded five times in Game 3 and 10 times in the series.
Video: Krug, Bruins finish perfect on power play in Game 3
"Obviously there's a lot of emotions in these games, but we've got to do a better job as a team playing whistle to whistle, playing hard from the whistle to not worrying about the stuff after," Blues center Brayden Schenn said. "I feel like if we can do that, we're effective. If we're worrying about playing hockey and not that extra stuff, we've got to focus on that."
The Blues have spoken numerous times about staying out of the box and keeping the Bruins' top-ranked power play in the playoffs (34.0 percent) off the ice. They got by in Games 1 and 2, going 8-for-10 on the penalty kill, but Boston took full advantage in Game 3.
"They're playing hard, we're playing hard," Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said. "We understand how good they are on the power play. Obviously, they've got a good power-play team. We've just got to make sure we play between the whistles. Just obviously using our feet and using our sticks and our hips and just go from there."
Getting back center Oskar Sundqvist, who was suspended for Game 3, will help. But more than anything, not letting the emotions of the moment get in the way of keeping the game 5-on-5 will benefit the Blues greatly. St. Louis has outscored Boston 6-5 at 5-on-5 in three games.
"That game last night, it's a hard one to evaluate," Berube said. "The penalties, they get four power-play goals out of it, just 5-on-5, I didn't think we were bad in the game. But you know, the game gets out of reach, so it's a tough game to evaluate. We're going to be fine tomorrow. Our guys will be dialed in, ready to go. They've always responded well after a loss."