ST. LOUIS — Patrice Bergeron and the Boston Bruins’ best players took the criticism to heart.

They weren’t good enough through the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals and needed to be better. And they were Saturday night.

The standouts propelled Boston to a 7-2 rout of the St. Louis Blues to take a 2-1 series lead. Bergeron and defenseman Torey Krug each scored a goal and had two assists, David Pastrnak scored his first goal of the series and the top power-play unit was 4 of 4.

Boston chased Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, and silenced the actor Jon Hamm and a raucous crowd that was fired up for the first Cup final game in St. Louis in 49 years.

Nothing was more important for the Bruins than the first line of Brad Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak getting going after no even-strength points through the first two games. They combined for five points in a decidedly better effort.

“We spent less time in our zone,” Bergeron said moments after the win. “When we do that we have more energy on offense.”

Game 4 will be Monday night.

Tuukka Rask, the playoff MVP front-runner, was solid as usual in goal with 27 saves, and the Bruins continued to get contributions all over their lineup. Charlie Coyne, a trade deadline pickup, continued his hot run with his eighth goal of the playoffs, fourth-liner Sean Kuraly scored his second in three games and Marcus Johansson added goal No. 7 in the final minutes.

That recipe for success has the Bruins two victories away from their first Stanley Cup since 2011.

The Blues came out flat and continued a trend of parading to the penalty box. After being the least-penalized team through the first three rounds, the Blues took six more minors to give them 16 in the final.

Staying disciplined was Coach Craig Berube’s focus given the charged atmosphere that delivered on all the hype. His players didn’t practice what he preached, and Berube’s staff even got a penalty for unsuccessfully challenging Kuraly’s goal for offside with 7.8 seconds left in the first period.

Just about everything went wrong for the Blues, who were forced to put backup goalie Jake Allen into the game. He gave up one goal on four shots.

Binnington allowed five goals on 19 shots before getting the hook for the first time in his NHL career but almost certainlywill be back in net for Game 4.

One silver lining for the Blues is they scored their first power-play goal of the series and ended Boston’s streak of 19 consecutive penalties killed.

NOTES: Bruins defenaseman John Moore made his series debut in place of his concussed teammate, Matt Grzelcyk. … The Blues were without their suspended forward, Oskar Sundqvist. Zac Sanford saw his first playoff action since April 14 in replacing Sundqvist. … Allen hadn’t played since late in the regular season, April 3 at Chicago. … “Mad Men” actor Jon Hamm, “The Office” actress Jenna Fischer, ex-St. Louis Rams players Isaac Bruce and Chris Long, current Kansas City Chiefs players Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, NASCAR’s Richard Petty and Bubba Wallace, and retired track and field star Jackie Joyner-Kersee were among the celebrities in attendance.

UP NEXT

Sundqvist returns to the lineup for Game 4 on Monday night to give the Blues back an important grinder.


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