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Stanley Cup Final

Blues hope penalty kill remains strong in Game 6 of Cup Final

Have contained Bruins' top-ranked power play in past two games

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues know their penalty kill must remain strong when they face the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS, CBC).

The Bruins have the best power play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, going 23-for-69 (33.3 percent), but the Blues have adjusted in the past two games. St. Louis went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in Games 4 and 5 of the Cup Final. Prior to that, Boston was 4-for-4, scoring on the first shot on each power play, in a 7-2 win in Game 3.

St. Louis leads the best-of-7 series 3-2 and can clinch the first Cup in their history with a win.

 

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"I think it's just taking away lanes," Blues coach Craig Berube said Friday. "They really like using seam passes and things like that. I thought that we were tight, doing a good job with our sticks and doing a real good job on our stand at the blue line on their breakouts and breaking plays up."

In Game 4, the Bruins had one shot on goal on their two power plays. The Bruins had five shots on three power plays in Game 5 but couldn't muster anything.

"Yeah, they've been pretty dangerous all playoffs," Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said of Boston's power play. "We've been aggressive; [we've] forced them to make plays they don't want to play and kind of taking their skill guys out of it early."

Video: The crew reacts to the Blues crucial Game 5 victory

It helped that the Blues got forward Oskar Sundqvist, one of their best penalty killers, back for Game 4. Sundqvist, who was suspended for Game 3 for boarding Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk in Game 2, has played 35:39 of shorthanded ice time in 23 playoff games.

The Blues have done a much better job against the Bruins power play in the past two games. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said on Friday that his staff will do what's necessary to spark their power play again, and the Blues will have to be ready for that.

"Either got to stretch them out to get some seams or we got to be less stubborn, then get a net presence and take the shot that's available with that net presence," Cassidy said. "Maybe stretch them out off of puck recovery. A little bit is on us to make sure -- 'us' the staff -- and it's on the players to make the right decision at the right moment in time. That's what we'll look at."

Goaltending has also helped the Blues. Jordan Binnington, who was pulled after allowing five goals on 19 shots in Game 3, came back strong in Games 4 and 5. He saved 21 of 23 shots in a 4-2 win in Game 4 and 38 of 39 shots in a 2-1 win in Game 5. 

"We've done a better job of reading moments to be aggressive or moments to step back and try and control it a little bit more," Blues forward Alex Steen said. "But you know they'll make adjustments to their game as well. We've got to be on our toes."

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