BOSTON (CBS) — We finally know that the Bruins will face off against the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Final, which is set to begin next Monday night in Boston. The two franchises don’t share much of a history with each other, though Boston sports teams do have a tendency to leave St. Louis fans slightly disappointed.
The B’s and Blues met twice in the regular season, but there really isn’t too much to take from those two matchups. They haven’t played each other in three months, and the Blues have changed quite a bit since. All we can really take from their two tilts is that Jordan Binnington is really good in net, which has become pretty clear through St. Louis’ run to the Cup Final.
But we still have quite a few hours to fill before the puck drops on Game 1, so it’s worth taking a look back just to watch some actual hockey once again.
January 17: Bruins Win 5-2 In Boston
You may have heard that the Blues were a last place team in early January, but they had just started to turn things around when they visited Boston for the first and only time during the regular season. St. Louis had won four of six and had earned points in their previous five road games when they came to TD Garden.
But the Boston offense put an end to their hot streak with five goals, including three in the game’s final period. The Blues were up 2-1 in the second when former St. Louis captain David Backes deflected a Zdeno Chara slapper into the back of the net — all while falling down — on a Boston power play for the equalizer.
The Boston offense erupted in the third, beginning with a sweet breakaway goal by Chris Wagner just over five minutes into the frame. Brad Marchand put home a Patrice Bergeron rebound for some insurance with just under seven minutes left, and Sean Kuraly added an empty netter from deep to give Boston the 5-2 victory. David Krejci had three assists on the night.
That offensive onslaught came against netminder Jake Allen, who has since been replaced by Binnington. Tuukka Rask made 28 saves, stopping all 10 shots he saw in the third period, for his 252nd career victory for the Bruins.
February 23: Blues Win 2-1 In Shootout In St. Louis
The Bruins were on a seven-game winning streak when they visited St. Louis. The Blues halted that with a shootout victory.
Alexander Steen scored on St. Louis’ first shot of the game at the 7:15 mark, making the most of a Boston turnover by beating Rask with a high wrister. A pair of currently injured Bruins contributed on Boston’s only goal, as Wagner scored off a feed from defenseman Kevan Miller. Newcomer Charlie Coyle scored in the shootout in his Boston debut, but Binnington turned away five other attempts by the Bruins while Tyler Bozak and Sammy Blais scored for St. Louis to secure the win.
Binnington made 31 saves in his only career appearance against Boston. Rask made 29 stops in the losing effort.
So what can we take away from those two meetings? Tuukka Rask and Jordan Binnington are both really good, and the two teams will likely have a tough time scoring on either this series. But we just had to look at what the two netminders have done this postseason — Rask with his .942 save percentage and Binnington with his .914 — to know that. Both teams have just gotten better than when they met back on Feb. 23, which should make for another thrilling battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup.