St. Louis Blues (3-3, best of seven) @ Boston Bruins (3-3, best of seven)
June 12, 2019, 8:00 PM EST (TD Garden)
Moneyline: St. Louis Blues +150/Boston Bruins -170
Puckline: Boston Bruins -1.5
NHL Scores: Boston Bruins vs St. Louis Blues
Game seven is here! Quick note: If we had reached game seven in the Sharks and Blues conference final, we would have stretched this season as far as technically possible (meaning all 82 games and reaching game seven in each round). SO CLOSE!!!! Oh well…
Don’t let that take away from the glory and spectacle that has been this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. The NHL has delivered in spectacular fashion. I know one day I’m going to bore my future children to death when I spout off all of the useless knowledge that I absorbed in the last two months.
Let’s take a look at the Finals thus far and try to figure out if Binnington magic is real or if Rask is ready to earn that Conn Smythe Trophy.
St. Louis Blues
St. Louis, as one would expect, is the second-ranked team in goal differential (second to Boston) and has racked up 68 goals so far in the playoffs (tied with Boston, but has played two more games than Boston).
St. Louis got to the finals by knocking out the most potent offense in the playoffs, in the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks don’t lead all teams in playoff goals anymore, as injuries and Jordan Binnington seemed to be the final the nail in the proverbial coffin.
Binnington hasn’t been the best goalie in the playoffs, but he has been when he needs to be. Jordan looks like he tries to figure out who his opponent is, during the first three games of a series. But in games four, five, and six, Binnington allowed more than two goals once.
It was in the Stanley Cup Finals that Binnington finally broke. When you think about how high the stakes were and the kind of effort needed to close out the Bruins, four goals and a .871 SV% doesn’t come to mind. Is game seven an opportunity for Binnington to prove himself? Absolutely! Will he? Well…
With the cracks starting to show, its Ryan O’Reilly who has shined brightest in the finals for the Blues (not calling him a superstar, but he’s doing quite fine). His seven points (4 goals and 3 assists) lead all skaters in the finals. His 101.8 PDO suggests he is right in line with where his performances should be, so don’t expect a slowdown.
At this point, Boston has a +31 goal differential. In my opinion, that is mind-blowing. It’s the time of year where defenses should tighten up and games should end with a one or two goal difference.
This success that the Bruins have enjoyed is mainly sourced from the powerplay, the first line, and their goaltending. To combine the first point into a couple of statistics, Patrice Bergeron leads all playoff forwards in powerplay goals, with seven. His seven goals have helped him reach his playoff total of nine (9), which ranks 5th in the playoffs right now.
His linemate and stooge, Brad Marchand, is the man behind most of the goals for Boston. His 23 points is good for best in the playoffs right now. Marchand has done his best to bring his pest-like style of game to the playoffs and has found a lot of success.
Even when he’s not scoring, he’s making his opponents look silly and working them into new levels of frustration. That’s the nice way of putting it. Marchand has just perfected the art of being a jerk.
With all of the offense (and not mentioning Tory Krug and his 16 assists), that superb goal differential doesn’t happen without Tuukka Rask. Want to measure a goaltending statistic? No need, Tuukka is at the top of the list:
- 1st in Saves, 677
- 1st in Save Percentage, .938
- 1st in GAA, 1.93
- 1st in Shutouts, 2
- 1st in wins, 15 (duh!)
If there was an award for the best player through the first three rounds of the playoffs and six games of the Finals, Rask would be wielding it right now. But unfortunately for Rask, there is still one more game to win. He’ll just have to hope the law of averages doesn’t come knocking tonight.
St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins Free NHL Finals
It is a very rare occasion that the regular season makes any difference in predicting playoff winners, but it is worth it to note there were two games played this year. A 5-2 victory by the Bruins and a 2-1 victory by the Blues.
The 5-2 victory came while the Blues were still trying to figure themselves out. Boston went 1-for-2 on the powerplay and St. Louis struggled to score on three powerplays.
The 2-1 victory, by the Blues, came after they figured out who they were going to be. Neither team did any damage on special teams and it was the Bruins who won the possession battle. Binnington proved to be the difference, allowing only one of the 32 shots to get past him.
Cover the Spread 365 NHL Betting Trends
St. Louis Blues
The total has gone OVER in 5 of St. Louis’ last 7 games.
St. Louis are 6-3 SU in their last 9 games.
St. Louis are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games on the road.
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Boston’s last 6 games.
Boston are 10-3 SU in their last 13 games.
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Boston’s last 6 games against St. Louis.
Free NHL Predictions: St. Louis Blues vs Boston Bruins
So let’s talk injuries. The Boston Bruins have had different defensemen go down in the victories for the St. Louis Blues. And with Zdeno Chara skating around with a busted face, will his 41-year-old bones allow for a strong performance in game seven?
As Ryan O’Reilly sees it, it’s time to lay it all on the line. So do the injuries matter? Not as much considering your days of rest start tomorrow regardless of the outcome.
I still say this fact could come back to bite the Bruins after the first period. I’ve talked about it earlier in the series and in the playoffs, but a first period lead for the Bruins is nearly a death sentence. The Blues just need to get out of the first period with a tie (or even more useful: a lead).
I think the Blues are a better road team (for whatever reason) and we’ll see a tighter game from start to finish. I’m not necessarily suggesting an overtime game, but I won’t be surprised by a 1-1 score after 60 minutes.
So a toss-up? I guess that’s what I’m saying…
If that’s the case, the more consistent scorer is on the Blues, and his name is Ryan O’Reilly. High-level logic there, right?
All I’m saying is that there absolutely has to be a winner and looking back at the last two months, this situation has worked out for the Blues. Regardless of how silly the moniker is, you aren’t blessed with the title of “Best Team After a Loss” for nothing.
That’s right! I’m telling you we’re gonna be singing ‘Gloria’ at the end of the night!
Pick: Under 5.5