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Stanley Cup Final Preview: Bruins vs Blues

Location: TD Garden

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

The Boston Bruins will start the series at home against the St. Louis Blues for the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. This will be the third Stanley Cup Final appearance in ten years for the Boston Bruins. The Bruins should be fresh and well rested after having 10 days off.

As for the Blues, this will be their first Cup Final since 1970 when they got swept by the Blues. The franchise has yet to record a win in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Blues punched their ticket for the Stanley Cup Final after winning 5-1 in Game 6 against the San Jose Sharks.

Jordan Binnington, Potential Conn Smythe Candidate

Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington will start his first career Stanley Cup Final game tonight. Binnington, 25, is on a three-game winning streak with a 0.67 goals-against average and .974 save percentage. He could become the third rookie goaltender in NHL history to win 13 wins in the playoffs.

He needs one win to become the third rookie goalie in NHL history to win in each of his team’s first 13 wins in the same postseason.

Facing Against Rask

Binnington and the Blues will be facing off against Conn Smythe candidate, Tuukka Rask.  This will be the third Stanley Cup Final series for Rask, who has the advantage of experience in the big stage. He was no.2 goaltender behind Tim Thomas and didn’t play in 2011 when Boston won. In 2013 he was the No.1 goaltender when they lost in six games against the Chicago Blackhawks. Rask is coming into the series on a seven-game win streak, with a 1.29 GAA and .961 save percentage.

Boston Special Teams and Win Streak

The Bruins had been dominate in both the power-play and penalty-kill. They are first in the playoffs on the power-play (34 %) and fourth in the penalty kill (86.3%). During the seven-game win streak, they had been 37.5 % on the power play. During the conference final against the Carolina Hurricanes, they had a whopping 46.7% (7-for-15) and 95.8 % on the penalty kill (23-for24).

Blue’s Special Teams

The Blues need to focus on staying discipline to avoid Boston’s top power-play lineup.  Their special teams are nothing great compared to Boston’s. Overall in the playoffs, they have a 19.4% power-play and 78% penalty kill. In the last five games, they improved in power-play being 5-for 15 (33.3 %)

The Forecheck

Both Bruins and Blues have a strong forecheck system. One of the reasons why both teams made it to the Finals was being aggressive on the forecheck. They made it hard for their opponents to break out of the defensive zones. Whoever has a stronger forecheck should have the advantage in this series. The goal is to limit offensive chances and being tough on the neutral zone.

Selke Trophy Finalists Square Off

A strong defensive forward is key for both offenses. Blues center Ryan O’Reilly and Bruins center Patrice Bergeron are a finalist for the Selke Trophy, the award for the best defensive forward in the NHL. Besides the Binnington versus Rask matchup, this one is where we should keep our eyes on. Blues head coach Craig Berube will try to put O’Reilly’s line against Bergeron’s line. This game plan is to slow down Boston’s top line of Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak.

Injury News

Vince Dunn Will Not Play Game 1

Blues defenseman will miss Game 1. He has not played since Game 3 against the San Jose Sharks when he got hit on the mouth from a shot from Brenden Dillon. In 16 Stanley Cup Playoff Game, Dunn scored seven points (two goals, five assists).
Today Dunn took part of the morning skate and paired with Michael Del Zotto. Carl Gunnarsson is expected to fill in for Dunn as he did for Games 4-6. In three games, Gunnarsson is plus-1 and averaged 11:47 of ice time.

Blues projected lineup

Forwards

Jaden Schwartz — Brayden SchennVladimir Tarasenko

Sammy BlaisRyan O’ReillyDavid Perron

Pat MaroonTyler BozakRobert Thomas

Ivan BarbashevOskar Sundqvist — Alexander Steen

Defense

Joel Edmundson — Alex Pietrangelo

Jay BouwmeesterColton Parayko

Carl Gunnarsson — Robert Bortuzzo

Starting Goalie

Jordan Binnington
Bruins projected lineup

Forwards

Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk — David Krejci — David Backes

Marcus Johansson — Charlie Coyle — Danton Heinen

Joakim Nordstrom — Sean Kuraly — Noel Acciari

Defense

Zdeno Chara — Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug — Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk — Connor Clifton

Starting Goalie

Tuukka Rask

 

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