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Stanley Cup Final Game 7 Preview: Bruins vs Blues

Series: Series Tied 3-3

Location: TD Garden

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET; (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)

 

The Bruins forced Game 7 with a 5-1 victory in St. Louis on Sunday night. This is the first Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals since 2011, when the Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks. Tonight’s Stanley Cup Final matchup between the Bruins and St. Louis Blues will be the 17th Game 7 in NHL history. Here is the preview for tonight’s matchup.

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Blues Lineup Change

The Blues head coach Craig Berube will make several changes tonight. Berube announced that forward Robert Thomas will be a healthy scratch tonight. The young forward been struggling from an injury and looked invisible on Game 6. In the two games he has been in this series, the Blues have lost and he was a minus-four.

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Barbashev Returns

Forward Ivan Barbashev will return to the lineup tonight. The Russian was suspended for Game 6 due to an illegal check to the head on Bruin’s forward Marcus Johansson in Game 5. He is expected to replace Thomas and play in the fourth line with Oskar Sundqvist and Alexander Steen.

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Edmundson to replace Bortuzzo

Defenseman Joel Edmundson will replace Robert Bortuzzo in the third defensive pair. Berube believes using a left-handed defenseman in Edmundson will be a better game plan. Bortuzzo, who’s right-handed, uses the right side of the ice. Both Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko will eat up a lot of minutes on the right side for Game 7. It would be more useful to have a left-handed defenseman to balance the game-plan.

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Notes On Binnington

Goaltender Jordan Binnington allowed four goals on 31 shots in Game 6. We all know that he needs to play better than Conn Smythe Candidate Tuukka Rask. The good news is that Binnington knows how to bounce back after a loss. In the playoffs, he is 7-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average and.933 save percentage in games after a loss.

The rookie goaltender even strength save percentage has been.927 for the entire playoffs and.928 in the series, compared to Rask who is at.937 for the playoffs and.908 in the series.

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Special Teams

The Bruins special team are the difference for the series. They outscored the Blues 7-1 on the power-play. The Blues power-play has been invisible, is 1-for-18. In Game 6, they were 0-for 4 with 12 shots on goal. Binnington has a.815 save percentage when shorthanded. Berube will shake up the power-play lineup to put more pressure on Rask.

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Bruins Lineup

Backes Scratched, Kuhlman in

Bruins forward David Backes will be a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. Rookie forward, Karson Kuhlman, will fill in Backes spot and play in the second-line with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci.

Head coach Bruce Cassidy will stick with the same lineup as Game 6. Kuhlman scored in Game 6 when he was called up to replace Backes.

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Backes understands the decision by Cassidy and hopes to win his first Stanley Cup in his long career.

“We’re all in for whatever’s best for the team. That’s the position we’re in and we’ve got one game to win a Stanley Cup and that’s where you want to be. Not being on the ice is tough, but I’ve got faith in our guys they’ll get the job done and I’ll be doing whatever I can to assist from an arm’s length.” Backes response on being a healthy scratch.

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Grzelcyk’s Potential Return

Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk could be in the lineup tonight for the first time since Game 2 when he suffered a concussion from being boarded by Sundqvist. If he returns to the lineup, Connor Clifton will be scratched. The Blues will test him physically if he returns. They did the same test to Bruins captain Zdeno Chara after he broke his jaw.

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Important Stats

  • The Blues are 9-3 on the road and 7-2 in games following a loss in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins are 7-5 at home.
  • If Chara plays at least 25 minutes tonight, he will tie or surpass Duncan Keith for most playoff TOI in the ’10s
  • The team that has scored the first goal has won each of the past four games.
  • In four of the six games, the team with the most shots on goal has won.

Forwards

Jaden Schwartz — Brayden Schenn — Vladimir Tarasenko

Zach Sanford — Ryan O’Reilly — David Perron

Sammy Blais — Tyler Bozak — Pat Maroon

Ivan Barbashev — Oskar Sundqvist — Alexander Steen

 

Defense

Carl Gunnarsson — Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester — Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn — Joel Edmundson

Starting Goalie

Jordan Binnington

 

Bruins projected lineup

Forwards

Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk — David Krejci — Karson Kuhlman

Marcus Johansson — Charlie Coyle — Danton Heinen

Joakim Nordstrom — Sean Kuraly — Noel Acciari

 

Defense

Zdeno Chara — Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug — Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk — John Moore

Starting Goalie

Tuukka Rask

Featured image Credit: NHL.com

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