It’s here. The Stanley Cup Final is about to start. The Boston Bruins will host the St. Louis Blues in game one of the final series of the season, a battle between a classic team from a powerhouse sports town that has been crowned champions six times in their long NHL history, and a passionate expansion franchise that has never hoisted the trophy in their 51-year history. Scotty Bowman was the coach of the upstart Blues in 1970, the last time they went to the finals, but even the legendary coach wasn’t able to overcome a 22-year old Bruins phenom who would change the way defensemen were expected to play.
Bobby Orr had hit his prime in the 1969-70 season, and would win the first of three consecutive Hart trophies as the league’s most valuable player. He’d also raise the Stanley Cup for the first time that spring, beating the Blues and accepting the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP. The Bruins have a much different leader on the blue line this time around, as seven-time All-Star and 42-year old fitness freak Zdeno Chara will captain Boston in another finals. No longer anywhere near his prime, Chara is still playing outstanding hockey for the Bruins and leads the entire playoffs with a +11 rating.
The Blues though will not be put down easily. St. Louis was in last place in the entire NHL on January 3rd of this year, and have climbed all the way back to compete for the Cup. The team has shown incredible resilience, knocking off contenders every step of the way and relying on a varied cast of characters to get it done. Pat Maroon, Tyler Bozak, David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly, all acquired in the offseason, have a combined six game-winning goals these playoffs. Jaden Schwartz, who scored just 11 goals all regular season now has 12 in just 19 games.
It may come down to goaltending, which is usually the case in the Stanley Cup playoffs. On one side there is Tuukka Rask, much maligned by his fan base over the years for his inconsistency, but playing the best hockey of his career. His .942 save percentage easily leads the playoffs and has him in line for the Conn Smythe if the Bruins manage to win. On the other, a rookie in Jordan Binnington who carried the Blues to the playoffs with an incredible second half of the season. The 25-year old had played one game in the NHL before this season, but now may be the key to bringing St. Louis their first Stanley Cup.
So just before the game begins, cast your vote! Who will win the Stanley Cup for the 2018-19 season? Do the Bruins have what it takes to give the city another title? Or can the Blues finally break their curse and snap the streak? Make sure to leave a comment explaining what you think will happen!
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