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SportBruins, Blues set to clash in bruising Stanley Cup Final

05:00  27 may  2019
05:00  27 may  2019 Source:   ap.org

NHL playoffs 2019: Bruins open as slight betting favorite over Blues in Stanley Cup Final

NHL playoffs 2019: Bruins open as slight betting favorite over Blues in Stanley Cup Final Vegas gives Boston a 61 percent chance of winning the Stanley Cup, while the Blues — 300/1 longshots in January — need just four wins.

Cancel. Set . Close settings. Orr and the big, bad Boston Bruins swept Bowman's overmatched, expansion-era Blues in that series. Now 49 years later, Boston is in its third final in nine seasons and St. Louis is back for the first time since 1970, but this Bruins - Blues rematch is a showdown between

The Bruins and Blues will meet in the Stanley Cup Final , a rematch of the 1970 series that ended with Bobby Orr's famous goal and leaping celebration. Boston has been in the final three times in the past nine seasons, but this is St. Louis' first trip in 49 years.


BOSTON — When the NHL altered its rules with an eye toward speed and skill, this is not the Stanley Cup Final it had in mind.

Hockey is becoming less of a big man's game, offense is up and it's faster than ever. Then there's the big and tough St. Louis Blues facing off against the bigger and tougher Boston Bruins in the final that shows size still matters in the playoffs.

"They are physical, we'll be physical," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Sunday. "I don't think we shy away from that type of game."

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Kuraly, Bruins rally, beat Blues 4-2 in Stanley Cup opener Sean Kuraly scored to break a third-period tie and assisted on another goal to help the Boston Bruins rally from a two-goal deficit and beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Monday night in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. BOX SCORE: BRUINS 4, BLUES 2 Tuukka Rask stopped 18 shots for Boston, which fell behind 2-0 on goals from Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko. But the Bruins outshot the Blues 18-3 in the second period -- and 38-20 in the game -- to take the opener in the best-of-seven series. Brad Marchand added an empty netter to clinch it.

Seeing the famous photo of Bobby Orr scoring the 1970 Stanley Cup -winning goal to beat his St. Louis Blues doesn't bring back Now 49 years later, Boston is in its third final in nine seasons and St. Louis is back for the first time since 1970, but this Bruins - Blues rematch is a showdown between two of the

The Boston Bruins swept the St. Louis Blues in 1970. Now 49 years later, Boston is in its third final in nine seasons and St. Louis is back for the first time since, but this Bruins - Blues rematch is a showdown between two of the NHL's best teams since Jan.

The past decade-plus has been a study in the NHL getting younger and quicker, and previous champions like Chicago in 2013 and 2015 and Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017 exemplified that. The 2019 champion will show there are still many kinds of blueprints for winning, though skill is still needed along with size and physicality.

When the puck drops on Game 1 Monday night, the bruises will begin in what should be a throwback series with the Stanley Cup on the line.

"At this point you're going to get both teams coming out of the gates laying their hits," big Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo said. "It's going to be a heavy series. It's hard to say how much physicality will be going both ways. I'm sure guys will be looking to get their licks in."

Blues beat Bruins in OT, Stanley Cup tied 1-1

Blues beat Bruins in OT, Stanley Cup tied 1-1 Blues beat Bruins in OT, Stanley Cup tied 1-1

Your weather is set to . Orr and the big, bad Boston Bruins swept Bowman's overmatched, expansion-era Blues in that series. Now 49 years later, Boston is in its third final in nine seasons and St. Louis is back for the first time since 1970, but this Bruins - Blues rematch is a showdown between

The Stanley Cup Final between the Bruins and the Blues is destined to be a memorable one, but The Blues found themselves in the final in their first three seasons and have quietly been frequent flyers Those 12 goals are one shy of the Blues ’ single-postseason record, set by Brett Hull in 1990

Boston and St. Louis don't lack high-end skill, from goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Jordan Binnington to scorers Brad Marchand and Vladimir Tarasenko. They do resemble their coaches — Cassidy, who has become a mature, straightforward communicator and Craig Berube, a no-nonsense, team-first guy who has turned the Blues into a north-south, no frills team.

These teams are in many ways mirror images of each other based on their gritty styles and how tough they are to crack.

"The two hardest, heaviest teams are in the final," San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said after his team was eliminated by the Blues in the Western Conference final. "Everybody talks about skill and speed, there's room for all these small players. There is a room for that. But I don't think it's an accident."

It's certainly no accident that the Bruins and Blues like to make opponents black and blue. Bruins forward Danton Heinen said physicality is what he and his teammates have tried to deliver all year long and will continue to, but the Blues figured out last round that they need to be more selective about dishing out punishment.

Stars lead 7-2 Boston rout of Blues, Bruins up 2-1 in final

Stars lead 7-2 Boston rout of Blues, Bruins up 2-1 in final Patrice Bergeron and the Boston Bruins' best players took the criticism to heart.They weren't good enough through the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final and needed to be better. And they were. BOX SCORE: BRUINS 7, BLUES 2 The stars came out on Saturday night and propelled Boston to a 7-2 rout of the St. Louis Blues to take a 2-1 series lead. Bergeron and defenseman Torey Krug each scored a goal and had two assists, David Pastrnak scored his first goal of the series and the top power-play unit was a perfect 3 for 3.

Blues beat Sharks, march on to Stanley Cup Final . Orr and the big, bad Boston Bruins swept Bowman's overmatched, expansion-era Blues in that series. Now 49 years later, Boston is in its third final in nine seasons and St. Louis is back for the first time since 1970, but this Bruins - Blues rematch

Boston and St. Louis faced each other in the 1970 Final , which produced one of the most iconic moments in hockey history.

"You can't just run around out there," St. Louis forward Oskar Sundqvist said. "When you're going to hit, you need to hit with a purpose."

The purpose now is to lift hockey's hallowed trophy. After Bruins center Patrice Bergeron played the 2013 final with broken ribs and a punctured lung, there's not much guys won't do this time of year at their own expense.

"This is the Stanley Cup. This is what everyone plays for," Boston forward Jake DeBrusk said. "It's going to be fun, physical and pretty intense, so hopefully the body holds up for everybody here."

GOALIE DUEL

With a league-best 1.42 goals-against average and .942 save percentage, Rask is the front-runner to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Rask is in his second final as a starter after being on the Boston team that lost to Chicago in six games in 2015.

"It's a team sport," Rask said. "Everybody has to pull their load. That's the only way you can win."

All the Blues is win, win, win no matter what since Binnington made his first NHL start in early January. They won 30 of their final 45 games to get into the playoffs, and Binnington has a 2.36 GAA and .914 save percentage in the playoffs.

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Seeing the famous photo of Bobby Orr scoring the 1970 Stanley Cup -winning goal to beat his St. Louis Blues doesn't bring back Now 49 years later, Boston is in its third final in nine seasons and St. Louis is back for the first time since 1970, but this Bruins - Blues rematch is a showdown between two of the

Old friends set to square off in Stanley Cup Final . Orr and the big, bad Boston Bruins swept Bowman's overmatched, expansion-era Blues in that series. Now 49 years later, Boston is in its third final in nine seasons and St. Louis is back for the first time since 1970, but this Bruins - Blues rematch

No goalie has won the Conn Smythe since Jonathan Quick with Los Angeles in 2012.

CUP EXPERIENCE DISPARITY

The Bruins and Blues play similar styles yet have very different levels of winning this time of year.

Five Boston players — Rask, captain Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Krejci — are still around from the 2011 Cup-winning Bruins, and Joakim Nordstrom won in 2015 with the Blackhawks. St. Louis has two players with Cup rings, though even that should have an asterisk because Jordan Nolan (2012 and 2014 Kings) hasn't played since January and Oskar Sundqvist (2016 Penguins) only skated 20 regular-season and playoff games with Pittsburgh that year.

"Our guys that have been there, that have won a Cup, have lost a Cup, that should give us an edge," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said.

Of course, a year ago the Washington Capitals had only one Stanley Cup winner in Brooks Orpik before Alex Ovechkin lifted it in Las Vegas. Armstrong is banking on his players earning their experience in the final.

"Hopefully a year from now we'll say, geez, St. Louis has got a lot of championship experience," Armstrong said.

MAY SWEEPS

To say this has been a weird playoffs would be the understatement of the league's 101-year history. Top seeds Tampa Bay and Calgary were knocked out in the first round along with fellow division winners Washington and Nashville, and the Lightning were actually swept by Columbus.

Blues beating Bruins in battle of attrition in Cup Final

Blues beating Bruins in battle of attrition in Cup Final The potential absence of Boston captain Zdeno Chara could be the tipping point in a bruising battle between the Bruins and Blues in the Stanley Cup Final. Beating up opponents and winning the war of attrition has been an ingredient of the Blues' playoff success. They took advantage of injuries to San Jose's Erik Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl to move on to the final. They are now two victories away from lifting the Stanley Cup as the healthier team. If Boston is without two of its top five defensemen in Chara and Grzelcyk, it would mean bigger roles for John Moore and Connor Clifton and the possibility of Steven Kampfer seeing his first action since Game 1 of the East

Stanley Cup Final preview: Bruins vs. Blues . Boston's scoring depth, St. Louis' ability to take early lead among key factors in series. Take a look back at the Blues and the Bruins ' exciting, grueling playoff journey before they clash in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final .

The Blues are in the finals for the first time since 1970, when they played — the Bruins . David Perron had a goal and an assist, Jordan Binnington picked up his franchise-record 12th playoff win and the Blues beat the San Jose Sharks, 5-1, in Game 6 of the Western Conference final Tuesday night.

But there has also been a strange pattern with sweeping teams that the Bruins hope is a coincidence and not a trend related to too much time off. The New York Islanders swept Pittsburgh in the first round, then got swept by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round. Carolina? Yeah, swept in the Eastern Conference final by the Bruins.

Boston also beat Columbus after the Blue Jackets swept the Lightning, making teams that won their previous series four games to none a combined 0-3 so far.

"It's something that naturally you're going to think about a little bit," DeBrusk said.

INJURY WATCH

Attrition to the San Jose Sharks helped St. Louis get through West final, and despite their physicality, the Blues and Bruins have been fairly fortunate when it comes to injuries this postseason. St. Louis defenseman Vince Dunn missed the past three games with an upper-body injury but returned to practice wearing a full shield over his face, and forward Robert Thomas skated Saturday after leaving early in the third period West final clincher Tuesday.

Dunn is unlikely to play in Game 1 but could be available later in the series. Thomas is expected to play despite not practicing Sunday.

The Bruins have had a week and a half off to heal up, which is good news for captain Zdeno Chara, who was injured and didn't play in Game 4 of the East final. They got a bit of a scare when Marchand jammed his left hand after bumping into teammate Connor Clifton during an intrasquad scrimmage to stay sharp during the long layoff.

Marchand missed practice Sunday, but coach Bruce Cassidy said it was for maintenance and expects Boston's leading scorer to be good to go for Game 1.

___

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