Bruins put on a special teams clinic in 7-2 Cup Final rout of Blues

Jun 1, 2019; St. Louis, MO: Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug passes the puck during the first period against the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center. (Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports)
Jun 1, 2019; St. Louis, MO: Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug passes the puck during the first period against the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center. (Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Bruins' top line needed to wake up so much, it was easy to forget that the power play was also a sleeping giant in this Stanley Cup Final. Well, it appears that the St. Louis Blues will have a very tough time staying afloat in the series if special teams become too much of a factor, because the B's just put a stranglehold on both ends of that battle.

A dormant Boston power play exploded in Game 3 on Saturday night, going 4-for-4 and consistently demoralizing a desperate St. Louis squad. The Bruins matched that with a 4-for-5 performance on the penalty kill and didn't allow a power play goal until the third period, when they had already built a 5-1 lead. Special teams spurred the Bruins to a 2-1 lead in the Cup Final and a stunning haymaker to a suddenly reeling Blues team.

It's a whole different debate over how bad the penalties themselves were for either team. But the important thing for the Bruins is when they got into any special teams situation, they dominated almost the entire time.

Torey Krug is a power play menace when he's at his best, and the Bruins defenseman was an absolute maestro on this evening. He scored a goal and added three assists, all on the man advantage, becoming the first Bruin in franchise history to score four points in a Stanley Cup Final game. Not even Bobby Orr or Ray Bourque ever accomplished what Krug did on Saturday, and there wasn't a ton of fluke about it either.

For the Bruins' first two power play goals, Krug sliced the Blues' net-front defense with precision passes down toward the slot to their most dangerous scorers. Boston drew first blood in the first period on Patrice Bergeron's tip-in from Krug's feed. For the second power play goal, David Pastrnak gathered Krug's pass and hesitated as Jordan Binnington opened up for Pastrnak's backhand lift, making it 4-0 early in the second period.

Krug took matters into his own hands on the next power play, firing it toward the net and getting a couple of fortunate bounces over the goal line. Though the puck deflected off Jay Bouwmeester, Binnington would still like to have this one back as he did get a piece of it before it went in. But it was still emblematic of the Bruins getting back to what they do so well when they're winning, which is create opportunities in front of the front by any means necessary.

Krug capped his night with a garbage-time assist on Marcus Johansson's late power play score, but it's fitting that he made one more tape-to-tape pass to the finisher.

How ruthlessly efficient was the Bruins' power play? It wasn't just 4-for-4 overall. They only took four shots. As soon as these units got the puck on net, it went in.

Part of it is on Binnington, who failed to come up with some bailout stops when he needed to. That's especially true for the Pastrnak and Krug goals. But ultimately, credit is due to the Bruins for returning to form and making the Blues pay for their penalties.

Also impressive is that the Bruins didn't pay for their own mistakes. The Blues needed a deflection off Brandon Carlo's pants for the puck to go in on their own power plays. The Bruins limited the Blues' chances close to the net and had good sticks to clear the puck, and when they couldn't disrupt things, Tuukka Rask was there to make the saves that Binnington could not.

It doesn't get more dominant than Saturday for the Bruins' special teams units. And the advantage is real. If the Stanley Cup Final continues to be a sin bin showcase, the Bruins should continue to shine.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].