Blues and Bruins Locked in Epic Battle
The NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals is turning out to be everything fans were hoping for. It has been a back-and-forth battle between equally matched teams. The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues will continue their epic dual this Thursday when the clubs get set for Game 5 from Boston. The best-of-seven series is now down to a best-of-three. That means each game carries tremendous importance. A significant question mark that looms over the Boston Bruins is the status of team captain Zdeno Chara. The 42-year-old defenseman blocked a shot from Blues’ forward Brayden Schenn in the second period of Game 4 and the puck hit Chara in the face and broke his jaw.
Depending on Chara’s status, Boston’s lineup could look very different come game time. They’re already patching holes on their defense, with injuries to Matt Grzelcyk and Kevan Miller. It’ll be next man up for the B’s. We’ll get a real sense of this team’s depth if Chara can’t suit up for Game 5.
St. Louis will attempt to take advantage of the Bruins’ short-handedness with a game on the road. They’re proving that running four lines is necessary for maintaining a healthy competitive roster. They split the first two games in TD Garden and will be eager to get the advantage by stealing another in Boston.
This, That, and a Dart Throw
The Blues were manhandled by the Bruins 7-2 in Game 3 at St. Louis, but they bounced back with fury. Coach Craig Berube termed it a “relentless” effort to earn the franchise’s first-ever home win in the Stanley Cup Finals. Although Boston could be without Chara the team’s confidence remains high heading back to TD Garden. They have lost consecutive games only once in the playoffs. No reason they should think it could happen now.
Ryan O’Reilly broke out of a rut in a big way for the Blues. He ended an eight-game goal drought by scoring in the first minute. Then he put on an exclamation point by delivering the game-winning tally in the third period. The Blues‘ fourth line of Oskar Sundqvist, Alexander Steen and Ivan Barbashev each logged more than 17 minutes and were matched up against Boston’s top line in Game 4. The trio held their own and that kept the team close enough to have a chance at the victory. St. Louis is 8-3 on the road in the playoffs, including a 3-2 overtime win in Game 2.
Boston‘s top line usually sets the tone offensively. Tonight should be no different. The No. 2 unit of Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci and David Backes has been mired in a slump lately. They have combined for only two assists in the series. That will have to change, especially if they are playing wihtout Chara. D Matt Grzelcyk has been out the past two games. He practiced in a non-contact jersey Wednesday but remains in the concussion protocol. Bruins third-line C Charlie Coyle has scored in three straight games.
The Dart Throw: Bruins 4, Blues 3
Stanley Cup Finals Betting Odds & Trends
|St. Louis Blues|
|St. Louis is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games|
|St. Louis is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games|
|The total has gone OVER in 4 of St. Louis’s last 5 games|
|St. Louis is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games on the road|
|St. Louis is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games on the road|
|St. Louis is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Boston|
|The total has gone OVER in 4 of St. Louis’s last 6 games when playing Boston|
|St. Louis is 9-4 SU in its last 13 games when playing on the road against Boston|
|Boston is 7-2 ATS in its last 9 games|
|Boston is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games|
|Boston is 6-13 ATS in its last 19 games at home|
|Boston is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home|
|The total has gone OVER in 4 of Boston’s last 5 games at home|
|Boston is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing St. Louis|
|The total has gone OVER in 4 of Boston’s last 6 games when playing St. Louis|
|Boston is 5-11-2 SU in its last 18 games when playing at home against St. Louis|
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