NHL – TRENDS OF THE DAY
The 2018-19 NHL season all comes down to this, a Game 7 between the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals. This comes after Boston earned a 5-1 victory in St. Louis in Game 6 two forced the deciding contest.
This was a close contest through the first two periods. Boston took the lead 8:40 into the game when Brad Marchand scored a power-play goal to put the Bruins on top 1-0. It remained that way through the first 40 minutes, but St. Louis simply fell apart in the third. Brandon Carlo scored his second goal of the playoffs 2:31 into the third and eight minutes later it would be Karson Kuhlman extending the lead to three with his first goal of the postseason. St. Louis cut the deficit to two a couple of minutes later, but goals by David Pastrnak and Zdeno Charo sealed the victory. Pastrnak and Marchand each finished with a goal and an assist.
- Louis Blues (-120) vs. Boston Bruins (-103)
St. Louis Notes
Ryan O’Reilly could very well be the Conn Smythe winner should St. Louis win the series. Over the last three games, he has scored four goals and added three assists to give him 21 total points in the playoffs. This ties the franchise record set by three players, most recently by Brett Hull in 1990.
Should St. Louis when the Stanley Cup, Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington will set an NHL record for victories by a rookie in the postseason. It would give him 16 victories, giving him sole possession of the all-time record for a single postseason.
Tuukka Rask has put together an impressive postseason, but it has been his performance in elimination games where he has really stepped up his performance. In games were Boston can be eliminated, Rask has saved 145 of 149 shots he has faced, a .973 save percentage. Rask was the backup to Tim Thomas when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011.
In the last 16 Game 7s played in the Stanley Cup Finals, the home team is 12-4. That includes the Boston Bruins winning in 2011. Defenseman Zdeno Chara will be playing in his 14th Game 7 in the playoffs, setting a new NHL record.
Jordan Binnington looked very good through the first 42 minutes of Game 6, but things went terribly wrong for him as the St. Louis goaltender allowed four goals on 31 shots. It is the sixth time this postseason that he has allowed at least four goals and a game but has followed up each of those performances by allowing no more than two goals in the following contests, that includes in Game 5, where he allowed two goals on 23 shots two nights after allowing five goals on 19 shots to the Bruins. Binnington has a 2.52 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage through his 25 playoff games this year. Binnington has allowed 17 total goals in this series.
Tuukka Rask was absolutely brilliant in Game 6, allowing one goal on 29 shots he faced. Of his 23 playoff games this season, the Boston goaltender has allowed two goals are last in 16 of those games and has posted an amazing 1.93 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage. Should Boston win, there is no doubt that he will be the Conn Smythe trophy winner. He has allowed 13 total goals in the 16 Stanley Cup games.
Goals For: 2.84
Goals Against: 2.76
Penalty Killing: 75.0%
Goals For: 3.39
Goals Against: 2.04
Penalty Killing: 88.4%
There are a number of reasons to believe that either one of these teams will win Game 7. Both teams have been stellar when faced with elimination. Boston has been incredible at home, and St. Louis is played extremely well on the road, especially in the latter portion of a best-of-seven series.
The big difference is experience. Five players for the Bruins were part of that 2011 Stanley Cup championship team, and each of them understands fully what it takes to win a Game 7 in the finals. Add to it the fact that the home team has dominated these games in the championship round, and the Bruins look to be the wise pick.
The total was originally set at 5.0 but has increased to 5.5. We understand that both teams are going to be tense early on, which usually results in a tight-checking, low-scoring affair. However, we see this as a situation that will create costly mistakes, leading to a wide-open contest dominated by the Bruins. The Boston Bruins will hoist the Cup after a 5-2 victory.
*** END OF JUNE 12th NHL TRENDS ***
NHL – TRENDS OF THE DAY
The St. Louis Blues find themselves just one game away from winning their Stanley Cup as they lead the Boston Bruins 3-2 in their best of seven series. This came after the Blues defeated the Bruins in Boston, 3-2, in Game 5.
St. Louis jumped out to a 2-0 lead in this contest. After a scoreless first period, Ryan O’Reilly gave his team the lead with his sixth playoff goal just 55 seconds into the second. It remained 1-0 into the third when David Perron would net his seventh goal of the postseason a little over 10 minutes into the third. Just three minutes later, Jake DeBrusk would cut the deficit for the Bruins in half with his fourth goal, but Boston could get no closer.
- Boston Bruins (-103) vs. St. Louis Blues (-120)
After scoring 55 points through the first 20 games of the playoffs, the No. 1 line of Brad Marchand, David Patrnak, and Patrice Bergeron has been held to just two points in the last two contests. Not coincidentally, these have both been losses for the Boston Bruins.
Equally as concerning is the fact that the Boston power-play is 0-5 combined over the last two games. This after they had scored a goal in each of their previous seven contests.
St. Louis Notes
Jordan Binnington tied an NHL playoff record for victories in the postseason for a rookie with 15 and is also tied with nine road victories. He has been a huge difference in the turnaround for St. Louis, going 24-5-1 since being called up in January.
Blues forward Ivan Barbashev is suspended for Sunday’s game for an illegal check.
St. Louis is 7-1 this postseason in Games 5, 6, 7 and have outscored opponents 25-10 and these such games during the 2019 run.
Tuukka Rask stopped in 19 of 21 shots in Game 5, but he is simply being outplayed right now. The two goals allowed in the last contest continued his streak of allowing three goals or less in 18 straight games now. The Boston goaltender has allowed 12 total goals through the first five games. Rask has a 1.97 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage through 22 playoff games this season.
Binnington is building an impressive legend, stopping 38 of 39 shots faced in Game 5. He has been unbelievably impressive since giving up five goals in Game 3, stopping 59 of 62 shots faced. Binnington has allowed 13 total goals in the five Stanley Cup games. He has a 2.46 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage in 24 games.
Goals For: 3.22
Goals Against: 2.09
Penalty Killing: 87.7%
Goals For: 2.92
Goals Against: 2.767
Penalty Killing: 75.0%
Trends to Know
Boston Bruins are:
- 5-1 in their last six games on the road.
- 2-6 in their last eight games in the Stanley Cup finals.
- 36-18 in their last 54 games.
St. Louis Blues are:
- 20-8 in their last 28 games at home.
- 39-19 in their last 58 games.
- 7-1 in their last eight in Game 5, 6, and 7 of the playoffs.
There is one rule when it comes to the Stanley Cup playoffs. The team that has the hot goaltender is the one you go with. After getting absolutely blitzed in Game 3, Binnington has been nothing short of brilliant. He is on his way to being the Conn Smythe Trophy and nothing would be better than to accept that award on his own home ice.
Boston look like they were unstoppable, but now they are vulnerable. Rask has played extremely well but would know offensive support, especially from the team’s No. 1 line, there is really nothing he can do. St. Louis is about to hoist the cup.
The total is set at 5.0 for this contest. Three of the first four games went over that total with Game 2 coming in at five with St. Louis winning, 3-2. We look for Game 6 to be very much like Game 5, as the tension is going to be high and neither team is willing to make a mistake that will cost them the Cup. Go with St. Louis to win 3-1.
*** END OF JUNE 9th NHL TRENDS ***