ST. LOUIS — Tyler Bozak witnessed the first NHL playoff game in Toronto after a seven-year drought. David Perron experienced the first Stanley Cup finals game in Las Vegas.

They ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

When the St. Louis Blues host the Boston Bruins in Game 3 on Saturday night, it’ll mark the first Stanley Cup finals game in the city in 49 years. The last game was May 5, 1970, when the Bruins won 6-2 to take a 2-0 lead in a series they swept on Bobby Orr’s dramatic overtime goal.

After winning a finals game for the first time in franchise history to tie the series at 1, the Blues are trying to make their own history at home.

“It’s going to be extremely special, for sure, to play in front of the Blues fans that have been waiting for it for a long time,” Perron said Friday.

To do so, the Blues will need to balance feeding off a raucous crowd and getting emotional in that charged atmosphere. The least-penalized team in the playoffs, St. Louis went to the box 10 times in two games in Boston, with one of those penalties putting Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk into concussion protocol and leading to a Game 3 suspension for Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. John Moore will step into Grzelcyk’s spot for Game 3.

“You’re trying to keep your sticks close to you so you don’t trip guys, you don’t high-stick guys and sometimes it’s just going to happen,” said Perron, a former Lewiston Maineiac. “It’s not a penalty you’re trying to take. It happened to me in the first game, and it’s very difficult to take. But you’ve got to be composed with the puck, you’ve got to be composed with your stick.”

Composure is the Blues’ calling card after rallying from the basement of the NHL standings in early January to within three victories of the first championship in franchise history. Their home arena was full for viewing parties for Games 1 and 2, so it’s tough for players not to get caught up in the excitement.

“We’re not even here and it’s sold out and it’s loud,” Bozak said.

Fans are certainly excited. NBC Sports reported the highest local rating on cable for a playoff game, and StubHub said the lowest price to get in is $725, and the average ticket costs $1,068.

“This is a hockey town and they’ve been with us through the ups and downs,” center Ryan O’Reilly said. “I don’t think I’ll be able to describe what it’s going to be like. But from what I’ve seen I’ve been very impressed, and we’re excited to get home.”

To show them good hockey, the Blues must try to avoid the penalty problems that plagued them in Boston. They were whistled for high-sticking, hooking, cross-checking, interference and slashing and twice for tripping and goaltender interference.

St. Louis got here in part because it only took 55 penalties in the first 19 playoff games. Coach Craig Berube chalks the difference up to too much emotion.

“We talk about that a lot,” Berube said. “You have to keep your emotions in check.”


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