Eighty games, three rounds, and there are only two teams left standing. The St. Louis Blues beat the Sharks in six, while Boston waited for their Western opponent after only four games. Let’s dive into who may end up the winner of the cup! Sports On Tap writer Kodey Stauffer gives his picks.
Update: The Boston Bruins won game 1 to take a 1-0 lead.
St. Louis Blues vs Boston Bruins
Both teams had to win 12 games to get here, Boston played 17 games, and the Blues took 19 games, but both are here for the cup. The Bruins are here for the first time since 2013 and are trying to win their first cup since 2011. The Blues haven’t had a chance to drink from the cup since 1970 but have never actually won the series. Let’s take a look at the tale of the tape:
The Bruins are the favorite heading into this Stanley Cup, and dispatching of their ECF opponent certainly feeds into that. Boston swept the Hurricanes with a goal differential of 17-5(!) against a strong Hurricanes defense as well. Rask has continued to perform at an unseen level that included a shutout in the last game of the conference finals. This further contributed to his absurd .942 save percentage through the playoffs and is vying for the MVP of the playoffs. Boston also flexes the best Power Play percentage scoring on 34% of their power plays. Brad Marchand has been one of the top players on the ice who has scored seven goals and eleven assists to be the top point contributor left in the NHL postseason. Boston has a very strong roster, and easily can be assessed as the favorite to win. The only concern I could see is if the long rest for Boston ends up tripping them up.
St. Louis Blues
Jaden Schwartz has been an absolute monster being the only player with 2 hat tricks in these NHL playoffs. His hat trick in game 5 opened up the series for the Blues as they outscored the Sharks 10-1 in the last two games. In a game that revolves around being hot and cold, the Blues are flaming hot and hope to continue to ride the wave to their first ever cup win. Jordan Binnington very well may end up with Rookie of the Year should he secure a cup for the city of St. Louis (even though he’s only played half the season). The Blues also have a surprising record on the road this postseason (7-2) that should help ease the nerves of Blues fans of having to play in Boston where the atmosphere is going to be electric. The Blues also hope that defensemen Jay Bouwmeester (6’4”, 206 lbs.) and Colton Parayko (6’6”, 230 lbs.) give the Bruins something that they haven’t seen yet in the playoffs with incredible size and physicality. This Blues team is different that ones we have seen from the past ten years with multiple disappointments and one-and-done playoff appearances.
The Bruins are the better team. On paper they have every right to win this Stanley Cup with the brilliant play they have shown throughout the playoffs. The question is, will the Blues’ grit be enough to overcome the talent gap between the two teams with Boston being essentially perfect in every fashion in the last series. The answer: Yes. The numbers point to the Bruins but I have this hunch that the Blues will bring their first ever Stanley Cup to St. Louis.
Winner: St. Louis Blues