The Boston Bruins opponent in the Stanley Cup Final has been decided. They will be hosting the St. Louis Blues on Monday night at the TD Garden. The Blues defeated the San Jose Sharks in six games to secure the Western Conference crown. Both teams will have a decent layoff until the start of the series with the Bruins experiencing a 10-day layoff and the Blues only a 6-day layoff.
The Bruins are planning to have a scrimmage on Thursday night just to keep themselves sharp. It will be a two-period scrimmage and they will be selling cheap tickets to the event. In terms of the Bruins health, they will be without Chris Wagner and Kevan Miller for the entire series, which means Clifton and Acciari will be staying in the lineup. Chara is healthy and will be good to go for Monday’s tilt.
The key for the Bruins is to shut down the top line of the Blues. Tarasenko was able to find his scoring touch in the Western Conference final and scored in every game. The Bruins top unit has been able to blanket every team they’ve faced and were able to stop other team’s top lines in every round so far. The Bruins have gotten key contributions from their depth in all rounds of the playoffs and a team’s depth always determines how far they can go. St. Louis has a similar amount of depth with strong scoring fourth and third lines.
In the Eastern Conference Final, the top line of the Bruins looked like the line we had seen all year and were potting goals on a nightly basis. On top of that, the Bruins dominated the penalty kill and made Carolina’s PP almost useless. On the power play, they lead the playoffs with a 34% success rate and a PK rate of 86%. They’ve got the edge as the Blues have scored 19% of the time on a PP and have a 78% success rate on the PK.
In net, the Bruins have a clear edge with the veteran Rask who will be facing rookie Jordan Binnington. Rask has been on fire rocking a .942 save percentage and a 1.84 GAA. He’s been a rock for the Bruins and if he continues his hot streak, the Cup Final should be over quickly. Binnington has been impressive in his first taste of playoff action with a .914 save percentage and a 2.36 GAA.
This will be the Bruins first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final since 2013 and the Blues haven’t been since 1970. They faced off in the regular season twice and split the series. The Bruins won the first matchup 5-2 and lost the second in a shootout 2-1. Both teams have had personnel changes since those meeting and have shuffled their lines around as well. These two teams met in the Stanley Cup Final in 1970 with the Bruins winning on this historic goal. Hopefully, we can see another parade in Boston soon.
-Tyler Smith (@TylerSmith4386)