Stanley Cup Finals 2019: Bruins and Blues play a best of 3
At the end of round 1 of the NHL Playoffs, we boldly suggested that you invest in the St Louis Blues to win the Western Confernce and the Stanley Cup. This was based on simple logic.
The Blues were one of the worst teams in the NHL around Christmas. At one point, their Stanley Cup odds were as high as 70/1 and then suddenly, they became the hottest team in the NHL over the course of the second half of the season getting into the playoffs. The form has carried over as they find themselves now in a best of 3 series to lift Lord Stanley’s Mug, with the equally worthy Boston Bruins.
And with NHL Stanley Cup Odds on BODOG listed as Boston -150 and St. Loius +130, Vegas is essentially telling us that these teams are dead even, with home ice being the only relevant justification for making Boston the favorite. But with both teams showing already they can win in each other’s arena- this is anyone’s for the taking.
The big news emerging from Game 4 was the grusome injury suffered by Bruins’ defenceman, Zdeno Chara who took a puck to face that opened up a bloody wound. It’s believed to be a broken jaw, and the Bruins’s brass has not offered any word on Chara’s status for game 5.
But for those of us who have been watching hockey all our lives, understand the warrior mentality these hockey players have. That being said it’s unlikely that anyone plays with with this serious an injury.
And IF Chara misses any games, even with home ice, it would be a major blow to Boston’s odds to win the Stanley Cup.
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Stanley Cup Finals, the ultimate war of attrition
But the Chara injury notwithstanding, we are going to stick to our guns and back the St. Louis Blues at +130 Odds to win Stanley Cup on BODOG and here’s why:
Over the course of the entire playoffs and the first 4 games of this series, they have shown that they have carved out the slightest of edges over their opponents and will win this series in the margins.
Specifically, we are talking about forechecking. What the St. Louis Blues can do with their forecheck is control the game better than any team in the NHL can.
In every series we have seen periods of games where they keep an opponent pinned into their defensive zone for literally minutes at a time. It’s become somewhat of an art form and the calling card of this team.
Through 4 games in this series, the Blues have not only outshot the Bruins 124-108, but also out hit the Bruins 161-138, which is a hard combination to pull off.
And if you eliminate the game 1 win by the Bruins, the numbers are even more slanted. Since game 2, The St. Louis have been outhitting Boston by 9 hits per game and have registered 11 shots more on net per contest. They’re outworking Boston and beating them in volume, which is ultimately why they will win this series and deservedly raise the Stanley Cup.
Boston’s 1st line vs St. Louis’ 4th line
Blues head coach Craig Berube is one gutsy man and fortune has favored the bold thus far.
He has willingly matched up his fourth line against the Bruins 1st line and effectively taken them out of the series.
The Bruins top line, and three top regular season scorers, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have been held to a combined 9 points in this series. But, more alarmingly, if you are a Bruins fan, they are a combined -9 plus/minus which if you are St. Louis, the type of statistical output from an opposing top line, that wins you a ring.
You can follow me on twitter @zahir_gilani
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