ST. LOUIS — Three minutes and one second.
That’s how much ice time it took for the Bruins to quiet the rollicking sold-out crowd at Enterprise Center Saturday night.
In Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, seemingly nothing could stop the barrage of Boston goals — not St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, not the eager hometown fans, and not a 20-minute intermission. Leading, 1-0, after forward Patrice Bergeron tipped in a pass from defenseman Torey Krug, the Bruins proceeded to score a trio of goals over a span of 3 minutes and 1 second. The stretch buried the Blues in an ultimately irreparable 4-0 hole.
With 2 minutes and 20 seconds remaining in the first period, center Charlie Coyle, off a feed from linemate Marcus Johansson, fired a shot past Binnington’s glove to make it 2-0. Just over 2 minutes later, center Sean Kuraly registered his ninth point of the postseason when he beat Binnington on a slapshot for a 3-0 lead.
“Did I think we’d score three goals in the first period? No,’’ coach Bruce Cassidy said after his team’s 7-2 win. “But I thought we’d be ready to play and at least be in the game and make it a competitive first period.’’
“That was our main focus, to have an on-time start,’’ added Coyle. “When you get rewarded right away, that helps the confidence. We just kept playing our game after that, and it kept snowballing. We kept playing well shift after shift, and it paid off.’’
Blues coach Craig Berube challenged Kuraly’s goal, arguing Bruins forward Joakim Nordstrom was offside before the shot. After a quick review, officials confirmed the call on the ice. Still 3-0.
“I thought it was 50-50,’’ Berube said of the challenge. “If we can go in there 2-0 into the second, it’s a big difference than 3-0.’’
According to the explanation released by the NHL, the call was not overturned because Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson “passed the puck back into his own defending zone prior to the goal.’’ By doing so, play is permitted to continue in spite of any offsides.
Because the original call was upheld, however, the Blues were hit with a minor penalty for delaying the game, giving the Bruins a power play. The first 10 seconds of the man-up advantage ran out the clock in the first period, so the remaining 1 minute and 50 seconds would start the second.
Giving Boston’s dangerous power play, which owns the league’s best conversion rate this postseason, a chance to skate on fresh ice spells trouble.
Sure enough, before fans could even return to their seats after the intermission, Bruins forward David Pastrnak flicked a backhanded shot to the top-right corner 41 seconds into the second period for a 4-0 lead.
The scoring didn’t stop there. Torey Krug, Noel Acciari, and Johansson all found the back of the net, as 12 Bruins registered a point.