ST. LOUIS — After a Game 3 where they dominated the scoreboard 7-2 and the power play, the Boston Bruins believe they can be even better in Game 4 Monday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC; live stream).
After grabbing a 3-0 lead after the first period and showcasing an NHL-best power play unit that scored four times on only four shots in a combined 126 seconds, the Bruins know that the St. Louis Blues will be playing desperate hockey in Game 4, hoping to establish their strong forecheck, stay disciplined, and test Tuukka Rask.
That’s what the Blues do, after all. They know how to rebound after a loss after dropping consecutive games only twice this postseason. Goaltender Jordan Binnington’s stats are extraordinary after defeats and his teammates and head coach Craig Berube have full confidence in a bounce-back game.
The Bruins won’t be caught surprised by an inspired Blues’ effort in front of their home crowd.
“Game 2, they came out hard after their loss,” said Bruins forward Charlie Coyle. “They’re here for a reason, they’re a good team. They’re not just gonna sit back and sit down. They’re gonna come hard and we’ve got to be able to do the same.”
Tactically, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy and his staff have already prepped their players to be prepared as the Blues try to get their forecheck going. Transitioning the puck out of the defensive quickly, as they’ve done well through three games, will be of vital importance in Game 4.
[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
“We did a better job of that,” Cassidy said. “Some of that was just getting it out in the neutral zone in the foot races. The [Sean] Kuraly goal was a result of that. We tried to back them off, but if they’re going to finish hard, then let’s make them turn, go back before they can hit us. Usually that’s good support, usually that’s execution. And then foot speed.
“So we’ll try to do a lot of the same in that regard, and then you gotta finish your plays. We did early on. We were fortunate. We finished plays we needed to but I don’t think we were great the other night. I don’t think it was a 7-2 game, personally. I thought we executed well and we had to finish plays. But that’s not always going to happen, so we have to be prepared for it to be a close game again.”
Coaches and players are always looking at things day-by-day, game-by-game, especially in the Stanley Cup Final. Game 3 was effectively over after the first 20 minutes. The Bruins executed well in many areas early on and built on that lead. But that game is over and forgotten, and both teams have moved on to focus on Game 4, a pivotal one in the series.
“I think we put that game behind us,” said forward David Krejci. “Obviously we look at some stuff on video, what we’ve been doing right. We have to keep doing that and remind ourselves how we got to the position that we’re at right now.
“But at the same time, even if you win a 7-2 hockey game it’s not perfect. There’s some room for improvement. We addressed that and we’ll be ready to go for tonight.”
Game 4 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final airs on NBC at 8 p.m. ET on Monday (stream here).
• Berube keeping the faith in Binnington after rough Game 3
• Stanley Cup photos inside Bruins’ dressing room serve as inspiration
• Conn Smythe Power Rankings entering Game 4
• Fan runs 28 miles with giant Blues flag to attend Game 3
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.