The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues have a date at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Tuesday night. The Bruins are going through a bit of a rebuilding cycle, trying to get back to what they captured in 2011, the Stanley Cup. Long way to go before that happens. In fact, the Bruins just have to start worrying about getting back to the playoffs. Boston failed to find a spot in the playoffs last season and are in danger of missing out again. The Bruins’ roster slowly became slowly depleted following the Stanley Cup win against the Canucks.
Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara are still here, but guys that helped the 2011 team like Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin are out. Seguin, if he played at the level in Boston as he has been in Dallas, would have kept the team afloat over the ensuing years. However, Seguin is a guy who may have needed a change in scenery to elevate his game. He hit his apex as a member of the Stars, but he certainly helped the Bruins win that Cup. With a record of 21-17-4, there is work to be done for them.
The Bruins have been going back and forth with themselves for the most part. Are they going or are they coming? It’s been hard to get a feel for them, but I think at the end of the day you can make the argument that they are a mediocre. If anything, the Bruins are fairing better than last season, likely due to the improved play of Tuukka Rask in net. Rask was not responsible for the Bruins in 2011, if you recall it was Tim Thomas who played lights out to make the Bruins a winner.
It wasn’t until after Thomas left Boston that Rask had an opportunity to start. Rask hasn’t gotten the Bruins to a Stanley Cup, but he isn’t the reason for it not coming to fruition. Their opponent tonight, the Blues, have caught the playoff choke bug over the last few years. With the finals in their sights, they were tripped up by the Sharks in the conference finals. The Blues have one marquee win on their schedule by winning the Winter Classic against the Blackhawks. Now it’s time for something a little bigger, a Stanley Cup finally.
The Bruins come into St. Louis after a tough beat in overtime against the Carolina Hurricanes. They’ve been topsy-turvy all year long in this sense. They’ll beat good teams occasionally, lose to teams they should beat, and everything in between. They’ve gone 1-3 in their last four games, including a record of 4-4-1 in their last ten games. They beat the Panthers twice and beat the Sabres twice as well. In their last ten games, their averageness has shine through, with 2.70 goals per game and 2.60 goals allowed. Overall, the Bruins are 24th in scoring, with 2.40 goals scored per game. Additionally, they are 7th in goals allowed per game. Rask has been responsible for that, posting an excellent 1.93 GAA and 0.928% save percentage.
The Blues are coming off a 4-3 win over the Stars, to bring them to 21-14-5 on the season. St. Louis have been finding the puck with relative ease lately, averaging 3.20 goals per game in their last ten games. However, it’s evident that the defensive effort hasn’t been as strong as a year ago. Notably, it’s clear that the Blues are missing Brian Elliott. Jake Allen holds a 2.63 GAA with a 0.904% save percentage. That isn’t at the level the Blues were envisioning when they said their goodbyes to Elliott, who ended up with the Flames in Calgary. The Blues have been particularly good at home, as they enter tonight with a record of 16-4-3 at home in St. Louis. The Bruins have gone 5-14 against the Blues. This should be a good matchup, but I like the Blues to edge the Bruins out at home.
PICK: BLUES TO WIN -115