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St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins are heading to the Stanley Cup Finals. Two teams who weren’t the favorites heading into the playoffs showed enormous grit and dedication.
The favorites are always the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators. Unlike other Stanley Cup Playoffs in past couple of years, this one is oddly unique. The star driven teams were outplayed but the tougher ones forced their way through. The way teams win in the playoffs is based on resiliency.
Here’s the breakdown of the Stanley Cup Finals:
Keys for the St. Louis Blues
Goaltending has been on the side of the Blues the entire postseason. Jordan Binnington has played superb. Binnington, a finalist for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, has been the backbone to this team.
In the last series against the San Jose Sharks, he saved 75 out of 77 (.974 save percentage) shots to close out the series entirely.
It’s imperative that Jaden Schwartz continues to be aggressive. He has 12 goals in the playoffs so far which is the second most in the post season.
The brilliance of Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly must be apparent if this team wants to hoist up the Stanley Cup. Winning the board battles and establishing aggressive forechecking would give the Blues an advantage. Especially since its the focal point of the Bruins. Regardless, they need to stay resilient with their game plan.
The third and fourth lines must play well for any success in the playoffs. Patrick Maroon and Tyler Bozak provide veteran depth and guidance to the lineup. Bozak had two points (1G, 1A) in the closeout game versus the Sharks. Offensively, the Bruins have an all out attack, so balancing out the workload is needed for the Blues.
If Binnington can play to the standards of Bruins’ goaltender Tuukka Rask then the Blues ultimately can win their first Stanley Cup trophy. Defensively, they need to stay out of the penalty box against the Boston Bruins: they are deadly on the power play.
Keys for the Boston Bruins
The Bruins have consistently scored in bunches throughout the playoffs. They have 19 players who’ve scored a goal this postseason which is remarkable. The depth of this team makes them the hard favorites to carry home their seventh Stanley Cup trophy in franchise history.
The first line, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, have been the best line in the playoffs. Scoring 22 out of the 57 (38.6%) goals this postseason combined for the highest percentage, provides a lethal attack.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask, has been stout this postseason. Rask posted a 12-4 record in the playoffs with an NHL leading 1.84 goals-against average and .942 save percentage. His play is a critical factor in the Bruins’ success.
In order to be successful, the Bruins need to be effective during their man-advantage. While having power play chances, Boston usually will make you pay. The Bruins lead the NHL with 34% on the power play through the playoffs thus far and look to improve that number.
Drawing penalties such as stick infractions or too many men on the ice can kill a team like the Blues. Look for the Bruins to take advantage of any penalties that go their way.
Needlessly to say, both teams battled hard through seven-game series and are at the final stage. The team that perseveres through the physicality of the series prevails.
Prediction– Boston Bruins win the series in six games.