2019 Stanley Cup Finals: Boston Bruins vs St. Louis Blues

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2019 Stanley Cup Finals: Boston Bruins vs St. Louis Blues

Andrew Fiore, Staff Writer

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After one of the most hectic Stanley Cup playoffs in history, where hockey behemoths fell by the day and all four wild cards advanced, the conference champions will finally square off to determine who will take home the cup. Here’s what you need to know:

Eastern Conference Championship:
After a grueling series against the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets, the Bruins were set to face the Carolina Hurricanes, who were fresh off a sweep of the New York Islanders. After coming from behind to win Game 1 by a score of 5-2, Boston was all over the Hurricanes in a 6-2 Game 2 win. They then traveled to Raleigh and dispatched Carolina with a 2-1 Game 3 win and finished the job with a 4-0 win. The main story of the brief series was goalie Tuukka Rask’s utter dominance of the Hurricanes. He made smart puck handling decisions and made his remarkable saves look so easy, he was practically daring opposing shooters to challenge, since it was almost impossible to get past him. The only question now is whether or not he and the Bruins can stay hot after 11 days between games.

Western Conference Finals:
Few would have expected that the Blues, a team that was the worst in the NHL as recently as January 3, would defeat the powerful San Jose Sharks to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. The Sharks took Game 1 by a score of 6-3, and the Sharks’ trip to the finals looked inevitable. However, the Blues stole home ice advantage with a 4-2 Game 2 win. The Sharks won Game 3 in overtime, but St. Louis rebounded with a 5-0 romp, and a series clinching 5-1 win in Game 6. The main story, which escalated into a controversy, occurred in Game 3. During overtime, the puck went loose near the Blues’ goal. A Sharks player, Timo Meier, dove and swatted the puck to Erik Karlsson who promptly shot the game winner. The issue was that Meier’s swat was clearly a hand pass, which is illegal according to NHL rules. The league later admitted that the call that ended up costing St. Louis the series was wrong, but it was too late to overturn it. Luckily for the Blues, it did not end up costing them the series, as they moved on and beat San Jose.

Rematch of 1970:
49 years ago, Bobby Orr and the Big Bad Bruins faced the expansion St. Louis Blues, who were in their third consecutive Stanley Cup Final. Boston won the first 3 games easily, but the final game would become iconic for years to come. The game was in overtime when Orr received a passed and fired the Cup winning goal while tripping. The result was Boston’s first Stanley Cup in 29 years, and one of the most iconic photographs in sports history, seen above. Boston will look to make history repeat itself, while St. Louis will look to flip the script in their first Finals appearance since then.

Boston on the Verge of History:
As the rest of the world groans at hearing this, many in this area will find joy in the fact that the city is four wins away from being the first city since Detroit in 1935 (pre-NBA) to be home to three pro sports champions in one year. The Milwaukee Bucks ruined its chances of completing “The Boston Slam” (winning all four pro sports titles in one year) when they eliminated the Celtics earlier this month. The Red Sox and Patriots won Championships in October and February. This year’s Stanley Cup would be the 13th in 18 years, and the fourth in that span against a St. Louis team.

The Former Captain
David Backes spent the first ten years of his career on the Blues, captaining them for some of those years. Now, he must prevent them from finally reaching the goal he had tried to help them accomplish for a decade. “It’s gonna be heightened emotions. It’s a binary decision now, it’s us or them. There’s no third party, ties, none of that stuff. One of us is gonna win the Cup, the St. Louis Blues or the Boston Bruins,” he said in an interview on bruins.com. He still knows many of his opponents and will likely remain friends for life with some, but for now he must lead his current teammates to the goal he’s been working toward for 13 years.

The Blues will have a lot on their hands in the upcoming series. The “Perfection Line” of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron has been firing on all cylinders, especially in the last games of the Eastern Conference finals. The Bruins have incredible depth as well, with players like Matt Grzelcyk, Joakim Nordstrom and Noel Acciari on the lower lines providing stability. However, St. Louis is the hottest team in hockey. They have only lost 10 games this calendar year. They matched the talent of other powerful teams like the Winnipeg Jets and the Sharks in these playoffs and they can easily match the physicality that Boston brings. The Blues will fight hard and make the games very competitive, but they ran into a Bruins team that has finally reached its full potential. The motivated and well rested Bruins will use their home ice advantage, their red hot goalie and first line, and depth players to give Boston another trophy. Bruins in 5

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