Three rounds of playoff action are over. The National Hockey League’s championship series has begun. Now is the best time to bet on hockey with only two teams remaining in the chase for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The last time the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues met in the Stanley Cup Final win in 1970 when Boston’s legendary Bobby Orr scored the game-winning and title-clinching overtime goal in Game 4. Since then, these clubs have gone different directions.
The Bruins are in the Stanley Cup Final for the 20th time in their franchise history and the third time in the last nine years. Boston made the championship series in 2011 and 2013. They are chasing their seventh overall NHL title with their last win being in 2011. On the other hand, the Blues are making their first Stanley Cup Final since that 1970 meeting. This is St. Louis’ 4th overall appearance in the Cup Final as they were also finalists in 1968 and 1969. The Blues have never won the NHL championship in their 51-year existence.
The Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Then they proceeded to eliminate the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 in the second round before sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 in the 2019 Eastern Conference final.
Boston, which finished second in the Atlantic Division, entered the Cup Final having not played for 10 days after completing a four-game sweep of the Hurricanes last May 16th. Heading to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Boston was riding a seven-game winning streak with an average winning margin of 2.7 goals during that period.
After trailing for 13:08 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, Boston led for 254:25 during their seven-game winning run. Against Carolina, the Bruins converted on seven out of 15 power play opportunities, improving their efficiency with the one-man advantage to 17-50 or 34% during the postseason.
Odds from Bovada as of 6/01/19
St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 in the Western Conference first round. Then they went on to beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 in a full seven-game second-round series. In the Western Conference Final, the Blues prevailed over the San Jose Sharks 4-2 to end the second-longest Stanley Cup drought in the NHL.
The Blues are aiming to become the first team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup after being in last place in the NHL team standings after their 20th game of the regular season. St. Louis went 30-10-5 SU since January 3, 2019, to put themselves in a position to make the playoffs after a lackluster 15-18-4 SU start.
Craig Berube replaced Mike Yeo as St. Louis Blues head coach on November 21, 2018, after their slow start. After Berube got the Blues going in January and led them to the playoffs, he became the 11th coach in the history of the league to make the Stanley Cup Final after taking over during midseason.
Where Are We Now?
The Stanley Cup Final began last May 27, 2019. Game 2 of the series was held last May 29, 2019. Here is the remaining schedule for the Cup Final:
- Saturday, June 1, 8 p.m.: Bruins @ Blues | NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports
- Monday, June 3, 8 p.m.: Bruins @ Blues | NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports
- Thursday, June 6, 8 p.m.: Blues @ Bruins | NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports
- *Sunday, June 9, 8 p.m.: Bruins @ Blues | NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports
- *Wednesday, June 12, 8 p.m.: Blues @ Bruins | NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports
- *If necessary
In Game 1, the Boston Bruins extended their winning streak to 8 games as they defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-2. The Bruins shrugged off ice-rust and rallied from a two-goal deficit to win Game 1 of the series. Sean Kuraly scored a goal to break a third-period tie and assisted on another while Tuukka Rask stopped 18 shots to lead the Bruins. Boston also got goals from defensemen Conor Clifton and Charlie McAvoy while Brad Marchand added an empty-netter with three minutes left.
But just as Boston roared back to score the come-from-behind win in Game 1, the Blues refused to go away. St. Louis defenseman Carl Gunnarsson scored on a delayed penalty 3:51 into the overtime period to give the Blues a 3-2 overtime win over the Bruins. Jordan Binnington made 21 saves while Robert Bortuzzo and Vladimir Tarasenko scored for St. Louis during regulation play to send Game 2 to overtime, the first OT game in the Stanley Cup final since 2016.
The Bruins’ eight-game winning streak is over. The series is tied at 1-1 with Game 3 set for Saturday, June 1st in St. Louis. So what now?
The Blues have stolen home ice advantage by winning Game 2. More importantly, they broke the camel’s back by snapping the Bruins’ eight-game winning run. The Bruins were so dominant during that stretch, having scored a total of 32 goals while giving up just 11. Tuukka Rask entered the Cup Final with a 12-5 SU record with a league-best 1.84 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage. He collected shutouts during the Bruins’ series-clinching wins over the Blue Jackets in round 2 and the Hurricanes in the Conference Final. However, the Blues have already scored five goals against him and the Boston defense in just two games.
Jordan Binnington has saved 55 out of 60 shots in two games against the Bruins. The 25-year old made his first NHL start last January 7th and went 24-5-1 with a league-best 1.89 GAA, a .927 save percentage and five shutouts. He is the fifth rookie in NHL history to earn his team’s first 12 wins in one postseason. While his numbers have slightly dropped in the playoffs, he’s holding his own against the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Bruins are the hockey betting favorites and they are going to win this series if they continue to get goals throughout their lineup, especially on even strength. Their top line of Marchard, Bergeron, and Pastrnak scored just one 5 on 5 goals during the conference finals and they will need to do more than that for Boston to win.
For the Blues, Binnington must continue to match Rask at an all-world level. They must limit their trip to the penalty box knowing how good the Bruins are in capitalizing on that during this postseason and they don’t have to play from behind. St. Louis entered the Cup Final 9-1 when leading after six minutes. The Bruins have been dominant with the lead in the playoffs, as they came to the Stanley Cup Final 11-0 when leading entering the third period.
I think both teams have equal depth at forward and defenseman but Boston’s suffocating defense and Rask’s goaltending will be the key in what could be a long series. I’m picking the Boston Bruins beat the St. Louis Blues and win the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.