BOSTON (CBS) — It has taken forever, but the Stanley Cup Final is almost upon us. What better way to cap off a long weekend than with the Bruins playing for Lord Stanley’s Cup?
The Bruins and St. Louis Blues will finally drop the puck on their Cup Final clash Monday night in Boston. It’s the B’s first trip to the final series of the season since 2013, and the Blues’ first since way back in 1970 — when they were swept by Bobby Orr and the Bruins.
While the Bruins have won 10 of their last 12 games, chances are they will not be sweeping the Blues this time around. St. Louis is an impressive 7-2 on the road this postseason, so don’t be surprised if they steal one of the first two games in Boston. Their 5-5 home record, though, could be their downfall.
Here’s how the WBZ-TV and CBS Boston sports team thinks the Stanley Cup Final will play out, with everyone expecting another parade through the streets of Boston within the next few weeks:
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports
This series just may go seven games, with the Bruins taking home another Stanley Cup.
The B’s power play is the best in the business and Tuukka Rask is as hot as a goalie can get in net. He’s playing the best hockey he’s ever played. Let’s just hope they can keep their mojo after waiting 11 days for Game 1. Bruce Cassidy has made smart decisions and the proper adjustments when he’s had to, so the Bruins should be in good shape.
The Blues don’t have any major superstars but they do play sound hockey. For a group that was the worst team in hockey back in January, they’ve flipped the switch big time.
Bruins in 7
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
The Blues are a team that started actually playing Stanley Cup type of hockey around January 1st. They were last overall in the NHL and were preparing to sell at the February NHL Trade deadline. However, they inserted former Providence Bruins goalie Jordan Binnington (on loan from St. Louis) in net and then promptly took off. He’s 12-7 with a 2.36 GAA and a .914 save percentage in the postseason and has instilled a confidence in the team.
Captain Alex Pietrangelo leads a big defensive corps while Jaden Schwartz (12 goals) leads the forwards.
The Bruins have been led by Tuukka Rask, who is a sparkling 12-5 with a 1.84 GAA and a .942 save percentage. If Tuukka continues to play at this elite level, there’s no chance the Bruins lose the Final. However, will the 11-day layoff cool him off?
The B’s defense has been superb, led by their captain Zdeno Chara. The 42-year-old is a plus-11 in the postseason with Charlie McAvoy right behind him at plus-9.
The first line woke up in Game 4 at Carolina with eight points. This is where I think the Bruins have the decided edge as Bergeron-Marchand-Pastrnak are as good as it gets up front. If they click, I think the Bruins will be in great shape.
Bruins in 5
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports
If there was ever a team of destiny, I think the Bruins could be it. They needed some items to fall their way for them to get here and all of it happened. Top seeds lost. Their bottom lines have produced. Tuukka Rask stepped up his game to an unreal level.
Both the Bruins and Blues have to deal with long layoffs before the Final. Maybe you believe the time off will bother Tuukka??? I don’t. I also don’t think the time off will bother Jordan Binnington.
Bruins have answered the bell in every playoff series this year and they will once again. Tuukka finishes the stretch and wins the Conn Smythe trophy.
Bruins in 5
Scott Sullivan, WBZ-TV Sports
The wait has been excruciating but finally the Stanley Cup Final is upon us. Blues vs Bruins and it should be a doozy. B’s Head Coach Bruce Cassidy says the two teams are very similar and he’s expecting low scoring games.
Both teams are riding hot goaltenders. Tuukka Rask has never looked better than he has this postseason while Blues rookie Craig Binnington has been a rock ever since getting called up in January.
The St Louis D is HUGE with their top four defenders all standing at least 6-foot-3 and over 200 pounds. They’re not just big, they can also skate. It’s imperative for the Bruins forwards to get behind, and between these big giants in the offensive zone. The B’s defenders aren’t as big but they all skate well and bring more to the table offensively, especially on the power play.
Up front, the Bruins are led by the best line in hockey: David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. The Blues counter with sharp-shooter Vladimir Tarasenko, and the surprising Jaden Schwartz whose 12 playoff goals is more than he had in 69 regular season games.
Bottom line, yes, these two teams are similar, but the main difference is up front. If the B’s top-line can produce big-time numbers, especially on the power play where they’ve been lights out, the Cup should be there for the taking. However, it won’t come easy. St. Louis has been the best team in the NHL since early January and won’t go down without a tremendous fight. Look for this series to go the Full Monty.
Bruins in 7
Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
This defies logic and isn’t very reasonable, but I’m always very hesitant when the general consensus leans one way. Typically, that’s when everybody is proven wrong.
So my inclination is to pick against the Bruins, just to try to appear smarter than everyone. But that’s really the only reason I could come to that conclusion.
The Bruins have tremendous experience. The Bruins have veterans who know that this might be their last chance to fulfill a lifelong dream. The Bruins have a goaltender that can’t be beaten. The Bruins have home ice. The Bruins have a better coach. The Bruins are deeper on defense.
The Bruins should win the Stanley Cup.
Bruins in 6
Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
The St. Louis Blues are on quite the roll right now and have proven throughout the postseason that they can bounce back from whatever adversity is thrown their way. They have a tough defensive core and a really hot goaltender in Jordan Binnington. And like the Bruins, they’re getting goals from just about everyone on the roster, with 18 different goal-scorers this postseason (Boston has 19).
All that being said, I like the Bruins to dominate the series without actually dominating the series. The games will be hard-fought and close, but the Bruins will come out on top. They have the veterans who have both won a Cup and lost a Cup, and they’re not happy with just “being there.” There is a lot more pressure on Boston to win this series, and they have the kind of players who won’t buckle under that pressure.
Plus, their power play is an absolute force this postseason and Tuukka Rask is doing his best impression of a brick wall. Get those duck boats ready.
Bruins in 5