By Joel Silverberg / @JoelSilverberg
Well, that’s one way to respond to a controversial call in the playoffs.
After the St. Louis Blues were believed to have been the victims of a highly questionable no-call in overtime of their Game 3 loss to the San Jose Sharks that gave the Sharks a 2-1 series lead, the Blues responded by winning the next three games to clinch the series at home on Tuesday night in Game 6.
After being bounced by the Sharks in the Western Conference Finals in 2016, St. Louis got revenge on the same stage to advance to its first Stanley Cup Final since 1970. The Blues made the finals in each of their first three seasons after the NHL expanded from six teams to 12. St. Louis was swept in each of those finals. The first two against Montreal and the third against Boston.
Coincidentally, the Bruins await St. Louis in the finals.
Boston hasn’t played since May 16 when it completed its sweep of Carolina in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bruins were down 3-2 in their series with Toronto in the first round before eliminating the Maple Leafs in Game 7. They fell behind two games to one against Columbus before rattling off seven straight wins to get to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Final since 2013 when Boston was downed by Chicago.
The Bruins will have had 11 days off by the time the puck drops in Boston for Game 1 on Monday. St. Louis will have had six. That’s the benefit of getting though a series quickly.
Boston outscored Carolina 17-5 in four games. The Bruins have also held opponents to two goals or fewer 12 times this postseason. Tuukka Rask has been unreal in net, posting a 1.84 average in 17 playoff games.
After giving up five goals in both Games 1 and 3 of the series against San Jose, Jordan Binnington has stood tall for St. Louis. He allowed just two scores in the final three games of the series and appears to have found his rhythm.
After scoring 11 goals in 69 games during the regular season, St. Louis forward Jaden Schwartz has 12 goals in the playoffs alone, including a hat-trick in Game 5 against the Sharks. He and Vladimir Tarasenko will pace the Blues offense against Zdeno Chara and the rest of Boston’s blueliners.
Patrice Bergeron leads the Bruins in playoff goals thus far, but Brad Marchand leads all remaining skaters in points throughout the postseason. Boston knows how to capitalize on chances and both teams will have plenty of rest.
Pick: Bruins in 6.