The Stanley Cup will be awarded in just a few hours. Ryan O’Reilly, Alex Pietrangelo and Jordan Binnington lead the St. Louis Blues into Boston with one last chance to secure the first championship in franchise history, but they’ll be met by a Bruins team ready to defend home ice with everything they have. Both teams will have some lineup changes, as the Bruins are welcoming Matt Grzelcyk back from his concussion, while St. Louis is adding Joel Edmundson and Ivan Barbashev. Connor Clifton will drop out for Boston, while Robert Bortuzzo and Robert Thomas come out of the lineup for the Blues.
Both teams are dealing with bumps and bruises (or broken jaws, in the case of one hulking defender), but there’s no tomorrow. Everything can be left on the ice with several months to recover and just one shot at hoisting the chalice. Some players may never get another opportunity, something a player like Jay Bouwmeester knows all too well. The veteran defenseman has played 1,184 regular season games in his long career, but is in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. In fact, he had only played in 49 playoff games total before the Blues went on this run.
For a goaltender like Tuukka Rask, this is another chance to silence his critics and establish himself as a franchise great. The 32-year old won a Vezina in 2014, but is playing at an incredible level in these playoffs. The Conn Smythe trophy may be his whether the Bruins win or lose, but it certainly won’t be as sweet without a victory lap on home ice.
So who will win tonight? Is it heartbreak for the Blues once again, or will the Bruins finally succumb to the physicality of this series? Cast your vote below, and let us know what you think in the comment section.
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