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SportsTruth By Numbers: How the Bruins and Blues got to Stanley Cup Final

19:05  24 may  2019
19:05  24 may  2019 Source:   sportsnet.ca

Damien Cox: Don’t look now, but the Boston Bruins seem headed for another Stanley Cup final

Damien Cox: Don’t look now, but the Boston Bruins seem headed for another Stanley Cup final The Boston Bruins look rather unstoppable right now, and here at the Centre of the Known Hockey Universe, you do wonder if the Bruins take this playoff run all the way, whether it will make Maple Leaf fans feel better or worse. Better because their team lost to the ultimate Stanley Cup champion? Or worse because they were only down 2-1 in the third period of Game 7 and could have taken down Boston in the first round? Or does none of that matter anymore in the wake of Kawhi making The Shot? More meaningful than Doug Gilmour’s back-and-forth wraparound against the Blues in ’93, more extraordinary even than Jose Bautista’s bat flip.

The Stanley Cup Final is set, with the Boston Bruins strutting their way in through a four-game sweep over the Carolina Hurricanes, and the St. Louis Blues Of the total passes each team attempted in the offensive zone in the conference final , none was even close to the Bruins in how often they tended

The Stanley Cup final is finally upon us and the matchup is set: it’s the Boston Bruins vs. the St. Louis Blues . While they’ve both made it this far, the two teams did so in dramatically different ways and that might set the stage for what to expect going forward. In the East, the Bruins have earned much

Truth By Numbers: How the Bruins and Blues got to Stanley Cup Final© Provided by Rogers Media Inc BruinsBlues3

The Stanley Cup Final is set, with the Boston Bruins strutting their way in through a four-game sweep over the Carolina Hurricanes, and the St. Louis Blues rallying around a missed hand pass, after which they completely dominated the San Jose Sharks to earn their first trip to the final since 1970.

Like we’ve done for the previous rounds, let’s see how the flow of play went for the Bruins and Blues in their respective conference final series.

Truth By Numbers: How the Bruins and Blues got to Stanley Cup Final© Provided by Rogers Media Inc

Strangely enough, the Bruins and the Blues advanced in very similar manners. Both teams lost the overall Corsi battle at both 5-on-5 and in all situations, but heavily dominated shot quality, at least in terms of location.

NHL playoffs 2019: Five facts to know as Blues snap 49-year Stanley Cup Final drought

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Take a look back at the path the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues took to reach the 2019 Stanley Cup Final . #SCF # StanleyCup » Subscribe to NBC Sports

Boston's special teams made the difference as the Bruins went 4-for-4 on power plays in a Game 3 blowout win over the Blues . #NBCSports #NHL

The Bruins’ power play has been absolutely lethal in these playoffs, clicking on 34 per cent of their opportunities and accounting for just under 30 per cent of their goals. But in the conference final they were actually better at 5-on-5 than they were on special teams — the Hurricanes were seemingly just cursed whenever it wasn’t five-a-side hockey.

At even strength, the Bruins were content to let the Hurricanes control the puck most of the game (though not to an extreme amount). But they did a great job of protecting the front of their own net and at the other end, they absolutely bombarded Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney with quality chances when they had their own offensive possessions.

The Bruins weren’t just positionally sound and excellent at getting dangerous shots on net, they also controlled passes into the slot at an extreme rate in the series, both defensively by blocking those pass attempts by the Hurricanes and offensively by finding ways to beat the Canes’ defensive schemes and find their forwards in the middle of the ice.

How the Blues Went From Last Place to the Stanley Cup Finals

How the Blues Went From Last Place to the Stanley Cup Finals The St. Louis Blues, the N.H.L.’s worst team as late as the morning of Jan. 3, are four wins from hoisting their first Stanley Cup. They advanced to the final round for the first time in 49 years on Tuesday night, ousting the San Jose Sharks from the Western Conference finals with a 5-1 victory in St. Louis. It’s worth mentioning once more: after playing 45 percent of their schedule (37 of 82 games), the Blues had the worst record in the entire 31-team league — not just among teams in the Central Time Zone or the Midwest, or that have the word “Blue” in their name.

On May 26, 2019 the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins met with the media in preparation for the 2019 Stanley Cup Final . Claudia Gestro covered the event.

Notable: The Bruins did not lead the Stanley Cup finals series until they won it. Their Game 7 victory in Vancouver was the first game in which the visiting Notable: At the moment of scoring the Stanley Cup -winning goal on Glenn Hall in overtime, Bobby Orr got tripped by Blues defender Noel Picard

Of the total passes each team attempted in the offensive zone in the conference final, none was even close to the Bruins in how often they tended to go for the slot. They also boasted the highest success rate on those passes by a wide margin.

Surprisingly, the Hurricanes were able to out-cycle the Bruins pretty significantly and were more dangerous off the rush at 5-on-5, but neither area translated for them and the rush chance differential reversed when you include all situations.

The Bruins’ extreme focus on passes into the slot and generating high danger chances also allowed them to get seven one-timers from the inner slot or high danger area in just four games. That’s a rare occurrence and has an extremely high expected conversion rate — this was a key to their quick strike offence.

Interestingly, the other team that was really good at creating one timers from the high danger area in the conference final was St. Louis. And while they didn’t exhibit the pass control the Bruins did, they made the most of those chances with a bevy of aggressive, net crashing shooters.

In the end, the Bruins had nothing left in the tank

In the end, the Bruins had nothing left in the tank Down a man for two periods, the defense struggled to manage the puck.

St. Louis Blues fans celebrate after a goal during the third period of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins Monday, June 3 Twenty-six seconds into the Blues power play, however, the Bruins inexplicably got numbers on a rush and Carlo scored shorthanded to tie it again.

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was wise to turn to New England Patriots superstar Tom Brady for help with a The video features footage of Bruins playoff highlights from both this year and years past, plus shots of the city’s Truth By Numbers : How the Bruins and Blues got to Stanley Cup Final .

Like the Bruins, the Blues were outworked off the cycle in their previous series, and at even strength they were outplayed in terms of dangerous passes as well. But contrary to what we saw in Round 2 and what they did in the regular season, St. Louis outplayed the Sharks off the rush.

That’s an interesting thing for the Blues because they’ve struggled to defend the rush most of the year and the Sharks were a dangerous team in that area. St. Louis saw themselves being beat on the cycle, struggling to generate the chances they were used to, and adapted. It’s yet another sign of resilience for a team that has personified the word this season.

When we analyze teams using data usually the goal is to cut through some of the clichés of ‘who wanted it more?’ or how much a team believes in themselves, or has bought into what the coaching staff is selling. But sometimes you can tease out little hints from the statistics that show how much a team is willing to change on the fly, attack in different and creative ways, and be effective while doing so. Those are the kinds of things I think of when someone says the players have bought in — and the Blues certainly have.

Bruins rout Blues 7-2, take 2-1 lead in Stanley Cup Final

Bruins rout Blues 7-2, take 2-1 lead in Stanley Cup Final ST. LOUIS — David Pastrnak flashed a wry smile, brimming with confidence. No even-strength points through the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final for the first line put plenty of pressure on Boston's best players to produce. Pastrnak shrugged it off, saying on scale of 1 to 10 they felt the pressure level was something around a 2. Then they got on the ice and delivered. The stars led Boston to a 7-2 rout of the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

BUY OR SELL

• The two players who led the league in 5-on-5 scoring chances in the playoffs won’t be playing in the final: Timo Meier was miles ahead of everyone with 63, Tomas Hertl was next with 48. Meier also led the league in high danger chances with 21. The Sharks might be heading into a transition phase, but the younger players they have are pretty incredible.

• The top three players in completed passes to the slot are also not playing in the final, and shockingly two of them are defencemen. Erik Karlsson (27), Logan Couture (25), and Brent Burns (24) completed the most, which might have been a bit of the issue for San Jose. Passes from up high to down low aren’t often as dangerous as cross-ice passes. The top even strength slot passer in the final? David Krejci with 21.

• The main area the Blues are going to have to key on to beat the Bruins will be shutting things down right in front of Jordan Binnington. Twenty-one of Boston’s 32 goals at 5-on-5 in the playoffs came from the high danger area, and in all situations it’s 31 of 57. They heavily rely on getting in tight, with 54 per cent of their goals coming from there. The Blues meanwhile, have scored just 44 per cent of their goals from the inner slot, demonstrating a bit more shooting ability from further out.

• Tuukka Rask leads the playoffs in inner slot save percentage at 87.9 per cent, nearly 10 per cent above expectations, which really floated the Bruins early in the playoffs when they weren’t their usual stalwart defensive selves. But now they’re playing like they usually do, and Rask hasn’t cooled down. That’s downright scary.

• Binnington by contrast has been exactly average from the inner slot, stopping 78.1 per cent of the high danger chances he faces, which is another reason why the Blues will want to focus on defending the inner slot to the extreme. They’re at a 10 per cent disadvantage in save percentage there. Can they hold off the Bruins’ aggressive forwards enough? It should be interesting to watch.

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