The Stanley Cup Finals continue on Monday night as the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues will meet up again. Boston will look to take a stranglehold on the series with another road win. The Blues will look to bounce back after putting up a poor performance in Game 3. The puck will be dropped in this matchup at around 8:00 PM Eastern time on NBC.
The Bruins finished out the regular season with a record of 49-24-9, which put them in second place of the Atlantic Division. Boston met up with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Carolina Hurricanes to reach this point in the playoffs. The Bruins have the lead in the series and will look to extend it with a win on Monday night.
St. Louis ended the regular season in third place of the Central Division with a record of 45-28-9. The Blues were able to erase their early season struggles to advance all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. St. Louis beat the Winnipeg Jets, Dallas Stars and the San Jose Sharks to make their fourth ever Stanley Cup Finals. The Blues will look to tie up the series in front of their home fans.
These two teams played some exciting games in the first two games of the series, but Game 3 was all Boston. The Bruins will look to build off of that win, while St. Louis needs to find a way to bounce back from that dominant defeat. I expect the Blues to come out fast to control the pace of Game 4, which could help tilt the game in their favor if they are successful.
Game 1 of this playoff series was hosted by the Bruins on May 27. Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko each scored a goal early for St. Louis as the Blues took a 2-0 lead. Boston battled back though to tie it up before the end of the second period. Sean Kuraly netted one early in the third period to give the Bruins the lead and the eventual 4-2 win at home.
Boston hosted Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on May 29. The first period of this game was back and forth. Charlie Coyle and Joakim Nordstrom each scored for the Bruins, while Robert Bortuzzo and Vladimir Tarasenko each had a goal for St. Louis. The game stayed tied until Carl Gunnarsson scored four minutes into overtime. Jordan Binnington had 21 saves on 23 shots as the Blues won 3-2 to tie up the series.
Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals shifted to St. Louis on June 1. Ivan Barbashev and Colton Parayko each had a goal, but it was not nearly enough for the Blues. Torey Krug scored a goal and three assists, while Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists. Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson each had a goal and an assist for Boston. Jordan Binnington was pulled for the first time in his career, while Tuukka Rask stopped 27 of 29 shots as the Bruins won 7-2.
The two games in Boston were back and forth battles, but Game 3 of this series was an absolute embarrassment for the Blues. St. Louis knows that they got beat up and down the board and they will come out angry in Game 4. If they can channel that anger properly, I believe that this could give them an edge to tie up the series.
Boston has been riding their special teams throughout this entire postseason run. The Bruins power play finished the regular season scoring on around 25.9 percent of their chances in the regular season, while stopping opposing teams around 79.9 percent of the time. Boston’s power play scored on all four of their chances in Game 3 and have capitalized on 35.9 percent of their opportunities in the playoffs.
The Blues were around the middle of the pack on both sides of special teams in the regular season. St. Louis scored on 21.1 percent of their power play chances, while stopping opponents on 81.5 percent of their power play opportunities. In the playoffs, the Blues have not been quite as good scoring on around 18.1 percent of their man advantages.
St. Louis has been a much more penalized team in this series and the Bruins have dominated them because of it. The Blues need to find a way to either stay out of the box or stop Boston’s strong power play unit. If St. Louis can do one or the other, it will give them a much better chance to win Game 4 and this series.
Tuukka Rask has looked like the front runner to take the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP if the Bruins hold on to win the Stanley Cup. Rask finished the regular season with a save percentage of .912 and a GAA of 2.48. In the playoffs, he has stepped up and posted a .939 save percentage and a 1.91 GAA.
Jordan Binnington was pulled for the first time in his young career in Game 3 and he will look to bounce back in Game 4. Binnington finished the regular season with a .927 save percentage and a GAA of 1.89, which helped the Blues turn their season around. Binnington has not been quite as sharp in the postseason, putting up a save percentage of .909 and a 2.54 GAA.
Rask has been a big reason for the Bruins success in the Finals so far and St. Louis needs to find a way to solve him. Binnington is coming off a poor performance, but I believe that he will use that as motivation to come out strong in Game 4. If Binnington can find his rhythm, it would really help the Blues tie up this series.
Game 4 almost feels like a do or die matchup for St. Louis as they look to avoid a 3-1 series deficit before heading back to Boston for Game 5. The Blues are going to make a lot of adjustments after their last game and I believe that it could really pay off. If St. Louis can clean up their game, they have shown that they can compete with the Bruins in an even sixty-minute game.
BetOnline has the Blues listed as a -115 against the money line for Game 4. This shows that they really like St. Louis to bounce back. I agree with this line as it does not give St. Louis a big edge, but shows confidence in a bounce-back performance. I believe that there is still a lot of value in the home team in this bet. I like the Blues to make the necessary changes to tie up this series in a pivotal Game 4.