Stanley Cup Finals Preview: Blues vs. Bruins

St. Louis seeks its first Stanley Cup title in team history, while Boston looks for its first since 2011

Derek Kramer
May 25, 2019 - 1:32 pm

Photo: Joe Puetz - USA TODAY Sports

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After a postseason full of upsets, the Stanley Cup Final is finally here.

The Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins will host the Western Conference champion St. Louis Blues in a best-of-seven series for the right to lift the Stanley Cup.

In terms of experience in the Stanley Cup Final, it's a tale of two very different franchises. The Bruins have won six Stanley Cups in their history, including their last one in 2011. On the other side, the Blues have not been to the Final since 1970 and have yet to win a single game in their three appearances. The team was swept each time they had a chance at the Cup.

In addition, that last Stanley Cup appearance for St. Louis was a sweep at the hands of the Bruins.

While the Blues may have history against them, they do have momentum from where they were early in the season. On November 20, the Blues fired their head coach Mike Yeo, and promoted Craig Berube as their interim head coach. Progress didn't come immediately under Berube, as the Blues sat in last place in the NHL as late as January 3 with a 15-18-4 record. At the halfway point of 41 games, St. Louis was just 17-20-4 and nowhere near a playoff spot. However, the Blues started stringing wins together under rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington, who put together a sterling season with a 1.87 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage and an amazing 24-5-1 record. The leading scorer for the season in St. Louis was former Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly, with 77 points (28 G, 49 A).

In the postseason, O'Reilly has continued to be a playmaker for the Blues, with three goals and 11 assists in the playoffs. Meanwhile, secondary scoring has been strong for St. Louis, led by Jaden Schwartz's 12 goals. Counting O'Reilly and Schwartz, the Blues have seven players with at least 10 points this postseason. Binnington has continued his strong play, with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage.

Unlike the Blues, the Bruins were one of the more consistent teams this season. Thanks to the Tampa Bay Lightning's 128 points on the season, Boston was allowed to be underrated despite having the second-most point in the NHL (107, tied with Calgary). Boston dealt with injuries throughout the season (30 players played at least 10 games with the Bruins this year), but still wound up with the league's second best record. The top line of Brad Marchand (100 points), David Pastrnak (86 points) and Patrice Bergeron (79 points) was dynamic throughout the season and able to carry the Bruins offensively.

However, in the playoffs, Boston has gotten secondary scoring from deadline acquisitions like Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle. Despite the success of the Bruins' offense, Boston would not be in the Stanley Cup Final without the play of goaltender Tuukka Rask. Rask's regular season numbers were already solid (2.48 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage), but his postseason numbers mimic the likes of a brick wall: a 1.84 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in 17 games (12-5).

The schedule for the Stanley Cup Finals is as follows:

 

Game One - St. Louis at Boston - May 27, 8 p.m.

Game Two - St. Louis at Boston - May 29, 8 p.m.

Game Three - Boston at St. Louis - June 1, 8 p.m.

Game Four - Boston at St. Louis - June 3, 8 p.m.

Game Five - St. Louis at Boston - June 6, 8 p.m. (if necessary)

Game Six - Boston at St. Louis - June 9, 8 p.m. (if necessary)

Game Seven - St. Louis at Boston - June 12, 8 p.m. (if necessary)

 

All of those games can be heard on WGR Sports Radio 550.

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