The Stanley Cup Final moves back to Boston with a tied series. No surprise about that at all with these two teams squaring off. They’re both terrific teams and deserving of getting to the Final. I saw this going to a Game 7 before the season started and I don’t think I’m going to waver off that prediction.
It’s be an entertaining series thus far, though I must admit for betting purposes, a full card in the regular season is much better. Bookmakers raise their limits during this time for a reason. In any event, I think the oddsmakers got it right with the price in this game. Any one of us could have came up with a price of -155 on the Bruins.
Boston will be down a key player on their blueline tonight, as Zdeno Chara is expected to be out after breaking his jaw. Hockey players are tough and Chara would probably prefer to play, but a broken jaw after taking a puck to the face is a lot to ask. Mind you, if he does play don’t be too surprised.
The absence, if he sits out, of Chara deprives the Bruins of a physical presence and veteran leadership for the defensive unit. Chara isn’t the only blueliner missing for the Bruins. Reports suggest that Grzelcyk has not been cleared to get back on the ice, so they are getting thin on defence. Even if Chara plays, Grzelcyk is a sizable loss and Chara won’t be anywhere near 100%. Tuukka Rask is going to have more pressure to play a clean game without to of his two top defenders.
Note that the Bruins were forced to complete two games without a starting defenceman and they possibly lose both of them. The Bruins are going to have to make up for an injured Chara and Grzelcyk in the lineup in Game 5. They have home ice, but losing the battle of attrition on the injury front. Head below for our free Blues vs. Bruins Game 5 pick.
St. Louis Blues vs. Boston Bruins Game 5 Pick
The Blues outplayed and deserved to win both of the games they grabbed. They outshot the 37 to 23 and 38 to 23 and the blueprint for each game was identical. The Blues also outshot the Bruins in Game 3 by 29 to 23. However, the quality scoring chances were with the Bruins in that one, as they won easily by a score of 7-2.
I would say overall that each team won their games without any controversy or question marks, which is a lot more than you can say for most series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season. Rask has played well in this series, but he is going to have to be better than well without Chara and Grzelcyk.
That’s at least one critical cog that the Bruins are not going to have available. At a minimum, they’re down Grzelcyk and Chara is playing with a broken jaw in a plethora of pain. Their depth is going to be tested and they might have to lean on their offence a little more than they’d like. Put pressure on Binnington, because I think the Blues are going to be able to get it on Rask in this contest.
Outside of Game 1, the Blues’ offense has been able to adjust and have averaged 34.6 shots per game in the last three games. Now without Chara, possibly, and Grzelcyk on the blueline, it’s likely not going to get more difficult to generate scoring chances. Again if Chara plays, which could be the case, he is playing through a lot of pain.
The OVER has gone 4-1 in the Blues’ last five games and 7-3 in their previous ten. For a team that has gotten this far because of Binnington, the offence have been doing their part recently to carry most of the load. At +125 on the OVER, the most value in this game has to be on the total.