Stanley Cup Finals 2019: Blues, Bruins All Even After Four Games
The St. Louis Blues waited 49 years for this, a return trip to the Stanley Cup final, and when they finally got back there, the same opponent awaited them. The Blues were swept by the Boston Bruins in the 1970Stanley Cup final, the last time St. Louis played in the Cup final series.
Let's have a quick look to the outright odds:
- Boston Bruins -340
- St. Louis Blues +270
St. Louis had never won a Stanley Cup final game in three previous visits to the final series, going 0-12. They'd also been 0-8 lifetime in playoff games against the Bruins before this series.
St. Louis fell 7-2 on home ice in Game 3. They're the eighth team to surrender at least seven goals in a Stanley Cup final game since 1981 and all eight of those teams ultimately lost the series.
The Blues are also 6-6 at home during the playoffs. Only one NHL team, the 1922-23 Ottawa Senators, won the Stanley Cup with a losing home record during postseason play.
Boston is listed as the -340 favorite to win the Stanley Cup, a feat the Bruins most recently completed in the spring of 2011. The Bruins are 22-9 all-time in playoff series when they take a 2-1 series lead, as they did in this set.
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- 01Boston Is The Experienced Team
- 02Can Blues Go From Worst To A Stanley Cup Win?
- 03Who Will Be The Conn Man?
Boston Is The Experienced Team
Six members of the Boston Bruins own Stanley Cup rings. Boston most recently played in the Cup final in 2013 and won the Cup in 2011. Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Joakim Nordstrom and Tuukka Rask all won Stanley Cup rings.
Four Bruins have played 100 NHL postseason games – Chara (173), Bergeron (127), Krejci (123), and Marchand (101).
In the NHL Stanley Cup Odds, experience goes a long way toward victory. Boston's power play has also been devastating during the playoffs, clicking at a success rate around 35 percent, something only the 1981 Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders have achieved in postseason play since the NHL first began calculating power-play stats back in 1933-34.
Four times during these playoffs, the Boston power play has been perfect in a game, including a four-for-four performance in Game 3 of the final series at St. Louis.
Boston's so-called Perfection Line of Bergeron, Marchand and David Pastrnak might be the best two-way forward unit in the NHL. But a concern for the Bruins as the series lingers is a growing list of injuries along their defense.
Kevan Miller and Matt Grzelcyk are out and team captain Chara missed a portion of Game 4 after being struck in the face with a shot. He returned to action wearing a full face mask to protect his injury. Already down one-third of their top six defensemen, the Bruins can ill-afford to lose Chara.
Can Blues Go From Worst To A Stanley Cup Win?
In November, the struggling St. Louis Blues fired coach Mike Yeo and replaced him with Craig Berube. The effect was not immediate and on Jan. 3, the Blues were still last overall in the NHL standings.
The Stanley Cup Vegas odds on the Blues were not good, but that's when their turnaround began, and St. Louis climbed all the way back to within striking distance of a Central Division title.
They upset the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the playoffs and rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the second round, twice staving off elimination to finish off the Dallas Stars.
St. Louis also staged a comeback from a 2-1 disadvantage to beat the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference final. They've already trailed the Bruins 1-0 and 2-1 in the final series, so the Blues will be looking to come from behind to win a third successive series.
They've proven to be a resilient bunch all postseason, generally bouncing back after heartbreaking losses. St. Louis has lost back-to-back games just twice in the playoffs. Rookie goalie Jordan Binnington is 13-2 this season in games following a loss.
Berube is the 11th NHL coach to take over a team in mid-season and lead them to the Stanley Cup final. Six of the previous 10 have gone on to win the Cup, most recently Mike Sullivan of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2015-16.
Who Will Be The Conn Man?
An opportunity to play a different sort of wager on the Stanley Cup playoffs is by betting on who you think will win the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the postseason. This trophy has been presented by the NHL since 1965.
Of note, it's gone to goaltenders and centers the most, each position producing 16 winners. Only two left-wingers have been awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy, although one of them was Washington's Alex Ovechkin last spring.
It's been six years since a goalie won the Conn Smythe, and that winner was Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick in 2012. Boston's most recent Conn Smythe Trophy winner was goalie Tim Thomas in 2011.
The only Blues player to win the award was goalie Glenn Hall in 1968. Hall is one of five players from losing teams to be presented with playoff MVP recognition. The Blues are the only team to produce a Conn Smythe Trophy winner but never win the Stanley Cup.
The top contender at Bovada in this spring's Conn Smythe Trophy odds is a goaltender. Boston's Tuukka Rask (-120) is the favorite to win the award. Blues goalie Binington (+350) is the third betting choice. His teammate, forward Jaden Schwartz (+325) is offered the top odds to win among the St. Louis players.
Forward Brad Marchand (+750) has the best odds among Boston skaters.