NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Game 1 Preview And Betting Markets

Published May 27, 2019 by Sol FH

NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Game 1 Preview And Betting Markets

The Boston Bruins vs. St. Louis Blues tonight at 1:00 GMT. Who's got the advantage going into Game 1?

The Bruins and the Blues are two bruising hockey teams. In an age where speed and offense have been the driver behind the NHL's rule changes of late, these two teams have made organizations rethink their whole gameplan, as they are two of the toughest teams in the league. "They are physical, we'll be physical," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "I don't think we shy away from that type of game." if this is the tone set ahead of Game 1, then we are in for a wild series. 

No matter how fierce the opposing teams' lineups may be, they wouldn't be able to reach the Stanley Cup Finals without a couple of goalies that have shut the door more than any others this season. Tuukka Rask and Jordan Binnington have been to the Bruins and the Blues, respectively, the most crucial piece of the puzzle this season. Rask has been a show stopper, the league-leading 1.42 goals-against average, and a crazy .942 save percentage. Considering that no goalie had won the Conn Smythe trophy since 2012, back when Jonathan Quick won it, Rask is the front-runner. As humble as ever, he related, "It's a team sport, everybody has to pull their load. That's the only way you can win."

Binnington is no slouch either. Since the playoffs began, he has a 2.36 goals-against average, and a .914 save percentage. I mean he led them to 30-wins over the last 45-games, and he has been on a role in the off-season. 

A Matter of Experience

The Bruins have an advantage in Stanley Cup experience. Five of their players are still around since the 2011 Cup-winning team - Goalie Rask, captain Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci. The Blues only have two players with Cups under their belts, but, that doesn't mean much as they both came in situations where they virtually did not play. 

The Road to the Cup

The playoffs have been weird, to say the least. The top two seeds, Tampa Bay and Calgary, were both knocked out in the first round and there were unforeseen sweeps across the Conferences. The Bruins swept the Carolina Hurricanes in the Conference Finals, which has given them time to rest to prepare. The Blues needed six games to beat out the Sharks, but some would say that San Jose was the tougher competition. 

The road to get here has not been without its bumps though, but far less unfortunate then two such physical teams would have you think. St. Louis defenseman Vince Dunn was out for the last three games against the Sharks but should be back for Game 2. The Bruins have had such a good rest that even Chara, who was hurt, will be back tonight. 

Stanley Cup Odds

bet365 Sports has posted their odds for the Stanley Cup Finals, and Boston is ahead at 1.66 on the Money Line. St. Louis is just behind at 2.30, but they are on a high after winning a few nights ago, so it should be incredible action tonight. 

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