Bruins blast Blues, take 2-1 lead in Stanley Cup Final

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So much for the Boston Bruins’ top line slowing down.

After a tough Game 2, and a relatively slow start to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, the trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak factored heavily into Boston’s 7-2 Game 3 win, which gives the Bruins a 2-1 series lead.

[Power play awakens Bruins’ top line]

Bergeron set the tone with a power-play goal to open the Bruins’ scoring, while Pastrnak also found the net on the power play, essentially killing the drama of Game 3 by making it 4-0 after Sean Kuraly‘s 3-0 goal survived an offside review.

(To be honest, most of the Bruins factored heavily into this win, as Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle also gave the Blues all they could handle.)

While the Bruins’ bombastic power play flexed its muscle in Game 3, Jordan Binnington buckled under the pressure, which is not something you could often argue during his impressive run during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In particular, that Kuraly goal is one Binnington would really want back, though it wasn’t the only regrettable one of the five the rookie goalie allowed.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Binnington’s had his struggles before, mind you, to the point that he’s distinguished himself by bouncing back uncommonly well for a young goalie when he does have those off nights. Game 3 marks arguably the lowest point of Binnington’s run, to the point that we saw Jake Allen in net for the first time during this postseason.

One would assume that the Blues haven’t lost confidence in Binnington, nor has the rookie lost it all in himself, but he nonetheless faces his biggest challenge yet. Frankly, the Bruins are looking like an absolute buzzsaw right now, to the point that Binnington may strain merely to limit their scoring, rather than shutting Boston down completely.

Then again, the Bruins seemed to clearly outclass the Blues in Game 1, only for St. Louis to flip the script in Game 2. Both of these teams have been able to rebound from disappointments during their runs, and this Blues team famously recovered from ranking last in the league remarkably late in the regular season, so counting St. Louis out seems like a bad idea.

Also a bad idea: letting the Bruins get on the power play, and letting Boston’s top line really get rolling. That happened in Game 3, and it’s up to the Blues to make sure that this isn’t the story of the series. About the only silver lining for St. Louis is that they managed a late power-play goal to get their first such goal of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, but that was as close to a “garbage goal” as you’ll get this time of year. If the Blues can’t win the special teams battle, they at least need to make it close to even if they want to win their first-ever Stanley Cup.

[More on the one-sided special teams play in Game 3]

That task looked a lot tougher after Game 3 than it did until Game 2, so it’s up to St. Louis to put together a much better effort on Monday.

Game 4 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final airs on NBC at 8 p.m. ET on Monday (stream here).

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.