2019 Stanley Cup Finals preview: St. Louis Blues vs. Boston Bruins
And then there are only two teams left standing in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs: the St. Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins. It’s not the finals matchup many thought would happen, but it’s going to be an intriguing series nonetheless.
2019 NHL Stanley Cup Finals Preview
Nitrogen Sports Blog takes a look at St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins in this 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Finals preview which discusses where both teams stand heading into Game 1.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues are headed to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 49 years. A clear difference maker for St. Louis has been the emergence of goaltender Jordan Binnington. He stole the full-time job from Jake Allen early this season and the Blues never looked back.
The Blues have taken on the personality of their coach Craig Berube. He was known for rough play and knocking his opponents around. And since he took over for the fired Mike Yeo in November, the Blues have definitely elevated their aggressiveness.
Star forward Vladimir Tarasenko was off to a rocky start this season but came on strong to finish with 33 goals. He was particularly good over the last few games with important goals to help close out the Sharks. But the defense will likely be the key for the Blues to beat the Bruins.
Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko will be assigned with stopping the Bruins’ top line. Their staunch defense paired with Binnington‘ solid in play in net give the Blues a great chance to win hockey’s ultimate prize.
Stopping Boston’s power play units will also be integral for the Blues, who are 11th among all playoff teams with a 78.0 penalty kill percentage. On the other hand, Boston is tops with a 34.0 percent power play conversion rate.
It took the Bruins seven games to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, six to eliminate Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round, and just four to take down the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals.
With a longer rest than St. Louis heading into the Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins should have fresher legs in Game 1.
Tuukka Rask has been on fire for the Bruins. He could even be the favorite to win the Conn Smythe award as playoff MVP. His .942 save percentage and 1.84 goal against average lead playoff goalies.
The other key for Boston is a continued offensive barrage and deadly power play delivered by their top line. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak will need to keep up their hot play to complete the mission.
Rest certainly won’t be a problem, but rust possibly could. Teams sometimes struggle in a succeeding round after a sweep and that has been evident this year.
To stay fresh, the Bruins have been scrimmaging, but nothing compares to a real, competitive playoff atmosphere. Boston is Titletown, USA right now and the Bruins are the favorites to lift the Stanley Cup.
But anything can happen in the NHL Playoffs and the Blues will be flying with momentum.
Boston is 8-2 in its last 10 games, with the UNDER going 7-3 over that stretch.
There could be another championship parade in Beantown this year, as the Boston Bruins are four wins away from raising the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2011. It’s not going to be easy, though, as the St. Louis Blues have been on fire of late.
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