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After an exciting Stanley Cup Playoffs, we are down to the Boston Bruins and St Louis Blues. This is the first Stanley Cup appearance for Boston since 2013, where they fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games. As for St Louis, it’s their first appearance since 1970, where they got swept by Boston.
After a rough start, the Boston Bruins made up for it and finished as the second-best team in the Eastern Conference. In the playoffs, Boston continued to ride the momentum, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in round one in a hard-fought seven-game series. From there, Boston overcame the Columbus Blue Jackets in six games in round 2 and made quick work of the Carolina Hurricanes to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.
Much like Boston, the Blues started off poorly, but everything changed after the team replaced Mike Yeo with Craig Berube. After the change, the Blues went on a 30–10–5 run. They continued to dominate in the postseason by defeating the Winnipeg Jets in six games in round 1, the Dallas Stars in seven games in round 2, and finally the San Jose Sharks in six games in round 3 to reach this point.
The Boston Bruins are averaging 3.35 goals per game; the second-most in the playoffs. The first line of David Pasternak (15), Brad Marchand (18), and Patrice Bergeron (13) have combined for 46 points and have been leading the charge on offense. Despite the first line clicking, the Bruins got a boost from their two trade deadline acquisitions in Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson.
Players such as Matt Grzelcyk, Danton Heinen, Sean Kuraly, and Joakim Nordstrom have provided the team with depth. With everything clicking for Boston offensively, it is going to be a challenge for St Louis to slow them down.
Despite the offensive firepower Boston holds, the St Louis Blues are no slouch in the offensive firepower department. The Blues currently average 3.00 goals per game. With Jaden Schwartz (16) Ryan O’Reilly (14), Vladimir Tarasenko (13), and David Perron (13) leading the charge, it has accounted for a combined 56 points.
On the ice, every defenseman outside of John Moore, Steven Kampfer, and Grzelcyk have a positive plus-minus; the highest being a +11 held by Zdeno Chara.
Even with a top tier offense and hard-hitting defense, the main reason for the success of the Boston Bruins during the playoffs this season is goaltender Tuukka Rask. To date, Rask has a record of 12-5, 1.85 Goals Against Average, and a save percentage of .942. Going against the St Louis Blues, Rask needs to ride the momentum of the last six games into the Stanley Cup Finals.
For the St Louis Blues rookie, Jordan Binnington is holding his own with a record of 12-7, 2.36 Goals Against Average and a save percentage of .914. Throughout the entire playoffs, Binnington has been sensational in net for St Louis. Of course, the Blues are going to need to score goals, but they primarily need Binnington to outplay Tuukka Rask.
The 2019 Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and the St Louis Blues should be an instant classic between two teams that have outstanding goalies in Tuukka Rask and Jordan Binnington. This has the potential to be an exciting seven-game series with both sides playing hard until a winner is crowned.
Prediction: Boston Bruins in 6
Featured Image: Jeff Roberson/Associated Press