The Boston Bruins host the Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 in Boston with a chance to hoist the Cup on their home ice, but the Saint Louis Blues are trying to play the role of spoiler and win their franchise’s first NHL championship and Stanley Cup.
The Blues squandered a chance to lock up the Cup on their home ice in St. Louis over the weekend. The Bruins avoided elimination with a 5-1 blowout in Game 6. The series shifts back to Boston for the finale.
If the Blues can figure out how to score against Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask (1.93 goals against average in playoffs), then they will have a chance to win this tough Game 7 on the road. History is against the Blues and the road team.
In the history of the Stanley Cup Finals, the home team is 12-4 in Game 7 situations.
The Bruins won six Stanley Cups with the last one occurring back in 2011. They have a handful of vets still from that championship squad, including goalie Tuukka Rusk, who served as a backup during their run.
The Blues have never won the Stanley Cup. They waited 49 years to return to the Finals for the first time since they lost to the Bruins in 1970.
Ivan Barbashev returns to the ice for the Blues. The defenseman sat out Game 6 due to a suspension after an illegal hit on the Bruins’ Marcus Johansson in Game 5.
Finding Holes in Rask
Scoring against Tuukka Rask is tough enough, let alone skating on his home ice. The Blues need goals from anyone other than Ryan O’Reilly.
Jaden Schwartz got off to a sizzling start in the playoffs, but he’s since cooled off. Schwartz scored a dozen goals in the playoffs, but zero in the Cup Finals.
“It’s been a tight series,” said Jaden Schwartz. “This time of the year, it’s dirty goals. Even from the goal line, we can do a better job of jamming pucks, finding guys open.”
The Blues have been unable to take advantage of power players. They scored just one power play goal in 18 opportunities. Even when they have 5-on-4 against Rask, they can’t get the darn puck in the net.
On the flip side, the Blues penalty kill must do a better job clamping down on uneven situations. The Blues allow 7 power play goals while the Bruins went 7-for-21 in the Finals.
3 Championships in Beantown
The Bruins are also trying to do something for the city of Boston that an American city has not done in over 80 years: simultaneous three major sports championships. Detroit pulled off the triple champs in 1935-36 with the Lions, Red Wings, and Tigers.
The Boston Red Sox won the World Series and New England Patriots are the reigning champs Super Bowl champs. The city of Boston is going for its proverbial sporting hat trick with a Bruins victory.
Game 7 Betting Lines
According to the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, the Boston Bruins are -180 favorites to win Stanley Cup Finals Game 7. The St. Louis Blues are +160 to pull off the road upset. That seems to be the consensus line across the board in Las Vegas and offshore.
The Westgate’s goal total is currently 5 over/under goals. At a couple other sportsbooks in Las Vegas, you can find that line at 5.5 over/under goals.
It seems very obvious that if the Bruins win the Cup, then red-hot goalie Tuukka Rask will win the Cup Finals Most Valuable Player award. Rask has a 93.8 save percentage in the postseason. If the Blues win, the MVP will most likely go to their goal-scoring machine Ryan O’Reilly.