With a disappointing loss on home ice on Sunday, the St. Louis Blues have a chance to win their first Stanley Cup on Wednesday, June 11th, in Boston. The key to this game is simple; stay out of the box. The Blues and the Boston Bruins both have 13 even strength goals in this series. The difference comes in the power play goals, as the Bruins have a commanding seven goals to the Blues one. The Blues post a dismal 5.5% goal rate when they have the man advantage, and on top of the lack of offense they have also allowed a shorthanded goal. Here are the principal Blues keys to victory for the final game of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals.
Blues Keys to Victory in Order to Clinch Stanley Cup
Numbers on the Blues Side
What the Blues have going for them is their ability to win on the road. They have notched 10 road wins this postseason, two of which have been against Boston. The Blues have also not lost back to back games in the playoffs since the semifinals, which dates back to May third (40 days). The Bruins have not won back to back games since their sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes last series.
Other than the difference in powerplay production, goaltending has been the biggest factor in this series. Despite a few off games form rookie goalie Jordan Binnington, both goalies have played exceptional. Binnington is following a loss where he allowed five goals, but he has come back from worse this series. Following a game where he was pulled, Binnington responded by allowing only two goals in a 4-2 win in game four. Binnington is 13-2 with 1.38 goals against average and a .934 save percentage following a loss this postseason.
Binnington and the Blues have played their best hockey when the pressure was at its highest. Now in a winner take all the Blues will have to go on the road to capture history.
Game of Inches
Despite the box score, Sunday night’s game was a lot closer than it seemed. The Bruins outshot the Blues by only three shots. Also, the Blues won 37 to the Bruins 26 faceoffs, and the Blues had four powerplay opportunities that went scoreless. The Blues also had countless shots just miss. If the puck bounces another way the Blues could be champions right now.
The road team has a 4-2 record in this series, each team has been more effective on enemy ice, which plays into the Blues favor. Even Blues Center, Ryan O’Reilly, said: “Maybe that’s our story, we have to get it done on the road.” O’Reilly has taken a leadership role this series by scoring four out of the 13 Blues goals.
If the Blues stay out of the penalty box and get production from O’Reilly they should be the favorite heading into game seven. In order to take game seven, the Blues have to be more aggressive on offense, and more disciplined on defense. It really is simple, when the Blues have stayed out of the box and attacked they have been a dominant force this series.
Game seven is in Boston on Wednesday, June 11th. The puck drops at seven P.M. central time.
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