The Stanley Cup matchup is finally set, as St. Louis took down the Sharks in seven games, and Boston swept the Carolina Panthers. Boston will have more of a break, where St. Louis has a quick turnaround. FanDuel’s Sportsbook as set the odds leaning in Boston’s favor at -158 to win the series. St. Louis come in as +136 underdogs. The Blues have been underdogs all season and at one point were dead last in their division. This feeds right into what they have been working with all season long — being against all odds.
It was a bit of a surprise to see Boston up this much in series odds. A -130 moneyline would have been more in line with our thinking. The Bruins went 49-24-9 this season, racking up 107 points. This was second in the Eastern Conference. They will have home ice in the finals, which is an edge for the Bruins. Boston went 29-9-3 at home this season, and 20-15-6 on the road. What really stands out in the Bruins favor is the dominance they had on Western Conference teams. They crushed the West going 20-5-5.
Your leading goal scorer for the Bruins was David Pstrnak, who has given the Bruins an elite scoring threat that they needed. The first line has been tremendous all year with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. Marchand has 100 points on the season, which is 23 more than the leading points man on the Blues. Boston has averaged 3.1 goals per game this season, and has been excellent on the power play scoring 26% of the time. St. Louis had the advantage in penalty minutes, as Boston racked up 797 minutes.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues finished the season with 99 points, sneaking into the playoffs. They were also successful against the Eastern Conference, going 20-10-2. St. Louis split with Boston, winning in a shootout, and then losing 5-2 in the first game of the season. The Blues went 24-15-2 at home, and 21-13-7 on the road. You can see some similarities already between the two teams, which is why this will likely be such an even series.
St. Louis scored 2.9 goals per game this season, and allowed 2.6. They are about even with Boston in terms of shots for and shots against. Their power play wasn’t as good, scoring 21% of the time. Boston also allowed 15 short-handed goals against if there is a small edge for the Blues to attack. There are no injuries to report on both sides, as both teams come in at full strength. Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Taresenko has been excellent all season, but Jaden Schwartz has been excellent in the playoffs.
It will be a close series, and 6-7 games will likely be needed to decide between the two. Boston comes in fresh off a sweep, and needed some rest for a few nagging injuries. It will be interesting to see how Tuukka Rask stays hot with the time off. He is the leading odds for the Conn Smythe Trophy winner. However, Brad Marchand at +315 and David Pastrnak at +1300 would be my two picks to grab the honors of Finals MVP. Overall the Bruins at -158 is a good bargain, as they have home ice and have been the better team all year long. They bring a good balance of physicality and speed, and should end up lifting the Stanley Cup.