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Stanley Cup Final

Sundqvist happy to be back for Blues in Game 4 of Cup Final

Forward, 'unsung hero' returns against Bruins following one-game suspension

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Oskar Sundqvist was clear he did not enjoy watching Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final when the St. Louis Blues were defeated by the Boston Bruins 7-2 and is looking forward to his return to the lineup for Game 4 at Enterprise Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVAS, SN).

The Bruins lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

"It was tough obviously," said the Blues forward who was suspended one game for a boarding infraction on Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk in Game 2. "You want to be out there with them and it felt like it was a night that took forever. So, I'm happy to be back tomorrow."

 

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The Blues particularly missed Sundqvist on their penalty kill in Game 3. Boston went 4-for-4 and needed only 2:06 of power-play time and four shots to score the four goals.

"It was tough not being out there to help the guys on the PK," Sundqvist said. "I think we started running around with it too much. We just need to stay tighter and we're going to do some adjustments and I think we're going to be fine tomorrow."

Coach Craig Berube agreed that the Blues missed Sundqvist in Game 3 but said his absence is not what ailed the penalty killing.

Video: Sundqvist suspended one game for boarding

"For sure we missed him; I don't look at it that way with the penalty kill last night," he said. "We've got to do a better job killing whether he's in the lineup or not. But we're definitely glad to have him back."

Sundqvist has become a key penalty killer, and more, in his second season with the Blues.

During the regular season, the 6-foot-3, 209-pound Sweden-born forward had an NHL career-high 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists) in 74 games, averaging 13:49 of ice time per game.

In 21 Stanley Cup Playoff games, he has nine points (four goals, five assists) while averaging 15:54 of ice time per game.

"He's been one of the huge bright spots for our team all year," forward Brayden Schenn said. "He's been an unsung hero for us, whether it's filling in on the power play, huge on the PK, scoring goals. He's had a great season so far.

"We expect a boost from him. He's playing really good hockey for us right now. He's doing a good job on the penalty kill and he's hard to play against. Obviously, we missed him last game and we're looking forward to having him back next game."

Sundqvist's return for Game 4 will present Berube with a difficult lineup decision because forward Zach Sanford, who took Sundqvist's spot when he served his one-game suspension, played well in Game 3. Sanford, who had an assist and was a plus-one in the loss, is likely battling forward Robby Fabbri for a spot in the Blues lineup Monday.

Video: BOS@STL, Gm3: Sanford feeds Barbashev for goal

"He was an impact player, made a nice play on the goal (by Ivan Barbashev) but overall I thought he was heavy, skated well, got the puck in deep and worked it, grinded it down low," Berube said. "He had a real good game. A lot of good options going forward for sure."

There is the chance that neither Sanford nor Fabbri will play in Game 4 should forward Robert Thomas be able to play. Thomas missed the past two games with an upper-body injury but skated with the Blues on Sunday. 

Defenseman Vince Dunn, who has missed the past six games after being hit in the face by the puck in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks, also skated Sunday and could be closer to returning.

Berube said he'd know Monday who will play in Game 4.

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