Stanley Cup Finals
Blues in 6
A rematch 49 years in the making as the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins are meeting in a best-of-seven series with the Stanley Cup on the line. The St. Louis Blues are in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1970. They had made the finals in each of their first three seasons, as a result of playing in the all-expansion Western Division. In each of those series, they were swept in four straight, losing to the Canadiens in 1968 and 1969 and the Boston Bruins in 1970 in a series capped by Bobby Orr’s famous dive.
The St. Louis Blues season feels almost like a Holywood story. The worst team in the NHL in the first half of the season, a coaching change and a rookie goal helped turn things around. However, it all started with a night off in a Philadelphia bar when the song Gloria by Laura Branigan became a team anthem as it was played on repeat in the bar and still ringing in their heads as they began an 11-game winning streak. The rookie goalie Jordan Binnington was largely responsible as he is a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Top Rookie.
The Boston Bruins meanwhile are the favorites seeking their seventh skate with the Stanley Cup. The Bruins have just the right mix of veterans and youth, as Zdeno Chara who captained them in their 2011 championship season is still a beast on the blueline despite being over the age of 40. Meanwhile, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron have been absolute snipers leading the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in nine seasons.
The Bruins steamrolled the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals and have had ten days off since. That could be a deterrent as the only other team with a ten-day layoff after the Conference Finals was the 2003 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim who lost to the Devils in seven games. In that series, the Ducks came out flat and were shutout in the first two games. This postseason has shown that too much rest is a bad thing in other cases as the Islanders swept the Penguins in the first round and were swept by the Hurricanes in the second round who in turn were swept by the Bruins. With home ice, it is imperative that the Bruins avoid a sluggish start, as the Blues could easily put the Bruins in a big hole early if they are rusty.
The Blues have been especially strong on the road in the postseason. In their opening series against the Jets, they won the first two games in Winnipeg and took Game 5 in overtime after, losing two in St. Louis. In the second round, the Blues took two of three games in Dallas, including a do-or-die Game 6, before winning Game 7 on Patrick Maroon’s goal in overtime. In the Western Conference Finals, they again took two of three in San Jose, winning Game 5 by a score of 5-0 took to take control of the series.
The Western Conference Finals showed the toughness of the Blues as they suffered a controversial loss in Game 3 at home. Following the hand pass goal, coach Craig Berube got his team to focus their frustration on the Sharks as they won the final three games to take the series in six.
When I first went to the Barstool office two years ago I met many bloggers, but it was one furry friend that made a big impact and the one minute I held Boris I realized this is one golden rodent. This is the time for the Blues, Boston has had their parades. They need to move over and let someone else have the fun as the Blues play Gloria all the way down the parade route after winning in six games as they use the magic of the Schwartz again to lift the Stanley Cup.