ST. LOUIS — Bruce Cassidy figures sometime before the puck drops for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins’ first line will get together.
Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak will talk about what hasn’t gone right in the series against St. Louis and what they need to do better. Maybe assistant coach Jay Pandolfo will show them some video clips for good measure.
“They’re students of the game where they see an opening,” said Cassidy, Boston’s head coach. “Listen, we’re in the Finals. These are good players they’re playing against every night, so they’ve got to find that little edge and I suspect they’ll work hard to do that in Game 3.”
One of Boston’s biggest strengths through the first three rounds of the playoffs has been virtually nonexistent against St. Louis. Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak have zero even-strength points against the defensively sound Blues and will look to produce on the road in Game 3 on Saturday to try to put the Bruins up again in the best-of-seven series.
“We need to capitalize,” Bergeron said. “For us, it’s about being better. We’ve dealt with this this whole playoffs against different lines. It’s no different. We know how we can play.”
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How they can play is pretty darn dominant. They were responsible for 23 of the Bruins’ 32 goals going into the Finals and exploited matchups against offensive trios similar to the Blues’ top line.
That success hasn’t materialized against the Blues, who have tried to get the shutdown defense pairing of Jay Bouwmeester and Colton Parayko against Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak as much as possible. In the first Cup Finals game in St. Louis since 1970, nothing can be said to be certain except a jacked-up atmosphere and Bouwmeester and Parayko sticking to that line like glue.
Cassidy gave St. Louis credit for defending well while also predicting his top line won’t be held off the scoresheet 5-on-5 forever.
“Usually if they check well, get pucks back, they’ll get some odd-man rushes against offensive lines,” Cassidy said. “If they support the puck close together, they’ll get their chances. If they’re able to separate down low against those man-to-man type of defenders, they’ll get some chances. They got a few. They haven’t finished yet. I wouldn’t say that that line has been dormant by any means.”
This is dormant by their standards. Perhaps that’s why Pastrnak’s answer to what he and his linemates could do better was, “Obviously, maybe produce more?” That actually starts in the defensive end with getting the puck back and going on the offensive.
“I think executing a little better in our zone — I think it starts there,” Bergeron said. “We have to play a little bit more our way, our style.”
Sundqvist faces possible suspension: St. Louis forward Oskar Sundqvist is facing a potential suspension after delivering an elbow to the head of Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk in Game 2.
Sundqvist was scheduled to have a hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety Thursday after the team landed back in St. Louis. He was assessed only a two-minute minor penalty for boarding for the hit that knocked Grzelcyk out of the game and possibly longer.
Cassidy said at the Bruins’ practice facility before traveling that Grzelcyk was in concussion protocol and listed as day-to-day.
Stephen Whyno is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Bruins-top-line-looks-to-break-out-in-Cup-13908549.php.