A Match-Up For The Ages

Bruins Favorited to Win Stanley Cup Final


Harry Weber, fair use via Wikimedia Commons

“The Goal” statue of Bobby Orr outside TD Garden stands as a memory from the last time the Bruins and Blues met.

Maria Wood, Sports Editor

Every year around the end of April or so, the regular season in the National Hockey League ends, and the playoffs commence. Everyone’s goal: Lord Stanley’s Cup. Rivalries between teams become fiercer, games can go into double overtime, and nothing is ever the same from season to season. Sure, the same two or so teams may make it every year, but the playoff brackets are as unpredictable as the weather.

Included in this year’s bracket are the Boston Bruins, who completed their regular season 49-24-9 and finished second in the Atlantic Division behind the Tampa Bay Lightning (62-16-4). The Bruins have not hoisted the cup since 2011, when they beat out the Vancouver Canucks in a close 4-3 series win. They made it to the Cup Finals again in 2013, only to have their dreams cut short by the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-2 championship clinch.

Who do you think will win the 2019 Stanley Cup Championship?

  • Boston Bruins (89%, 24 Votes)
  • St. Louis Blues (11%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 27

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This season, the Lightning’s spectacular record-tying regular season made them favorites to win the Cup, but their 4-0 first round defeat shocked fans everywhere. The Columbus Blue Jackets completed that sweep, only to go on to face the Bruins in the second round.

Many fans did not expect the B’s to win the second round against Columbus (47-31-4 regular season), but they had already fought hard against the Toronto Maple Leafs in a back and forth 4-3 first round win. The Bruins came out on top of the Blue Jackets with a series win of 4-2.

The Eastern Conference Final looked to be a challenge for Boston, with the Carolina Hurricanes sweeping the Islanders in the round before. Also noteworthy was the Hurricanes’ defeat of the defending champions, the Washington Capitals. However, Boston didn’t disappoint, with a clean 4-0 sweep of the Hurricanes to advance to the Final.

Fans are attributing the Bruins’ success to their veterans’ leadership and talent, which is rubbing off on the rookies and making the team stronger.

“[Patrice] Bergeron is my favorite player because he leads by example, and is always composed both on and off the ice,” said longtime B’s fan and Abington senior Lauren Nelligan. “Although he is great offensively, he always helps out his team by playing just as well on defense.”

Players like Bergeron, along with left winger Brad Marchand and goalie Tuukka Rask have proven to be crucial players on the road to the Finals. Marchand leads the team in points (18) and is tied for first in assists (11) with defenseman Torey Krug. Rask, who had a shaky start to his season, posted 2 playoff shutouts and a .942 save percentage in the last three series.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this season’s final are the two teams themselves: Boston, of course, and the St. Louis Blues (45-28-9). The last time the Bruins and Blues faced off for the Cup, none other than Bobby Orr scored his game-winning overtime goal and made his iconic celebratory trip towards victory in 1970. Since then, the Blues have not made it to another Stanley Cup final. So, in a way, this series is St. Louis’s chance at redemption… if they win it all.

Boston started things off right with a 4-2 opening game thriller on Monday, May 27th on home ice. The first period worried fans, when the Blues’ Brayden Schenn struck early in the game. Many blamed the B’s poor first period performance on their 10-day layoff. Even though Vladimir Tarasenko put one in the net later on to make it 2-0, rookie Connor Clifton scored to put Boston on the board in the 2nd. Charlie McAvoy tied things up at the end of the second period, and Sean Kuraly netted a goal in the third. Brad Marchand, being the feisty, show-off player that he is, scored an empty-netter for insurance.

Now, although the win was exciting, the highlight of the night may have been Torey Krug’s hit on Robert Thomas-without a helmet. Krug went flying after the impact, and his fall was reminiscent of Bobby Orr’s flying leap in 1970. It sparked life into Bruins fans everywhere, which is exactly what their team needs behind them.

So yes, the Blues do want their first championship win. The Bruins want redemption just as badly. The closeness of taking it all in 2013 may have made them want it slightly more. Only time will tell who truly craves victory, and who is worthy of the Stanley Cup.

Game Two is in Boston on Wednesday, May 29th at 8:00 EST.