By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
The rematch of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals goes down tonight in the same building where the St. Louis Blues hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history – the TD Garden. The Boston Bruins welcome the Blues into the Garden coming off of a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, bringing their overall record to 6-1-2. Tonight’s game is the first half of a back-to-back that has the B’s playing the New York Rangers tomorrow.
Tonight’s game for the Blues is the first road game after four consecutive home games that saw them win twice and lose twice. The Blues currently hold the third spot in the Central Division with a record of 5-2-3 after ten games. St. Louis has come out victorious in back-to-back games with wins over Los Angeles (5-2 on Thursday) and Colorado (3-1 on Monday).
BOS: Tuukka Rask 4-0-1 1.78 GAA .944 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 4-2 win vs TOR
STL: Jordan Binnington 4-1-3 2.58 GAA .916 SV% Last Game: 33 Saves in 5-2 win vs LAK
Tuukka Rask played in his 500th career NHL game on Tuesday and in the process, picked up career win number 269 with a 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs in Boston. Rask is first in the NHL in save percentage (.944%) and goals-against-average (1.77) with a minimum of four games played and he remains undefeated in regulation with a record of 4-0-1. Tuukka is historically known for being a slow-starter in a season, but in 2019-20, he has been solid and will look to continue that tonight.
Brayden Schenn leads the Blues in points with eight goals and three assists through ten games played and he is currently riding a two-game goal streak including a two-goal performance in the win over the Los Angeles Kings. Schenn has scored a point in every game this season except for two (Washington and Montreal) and has been averaging just around 18 minutes on the ice per game.
David Pastrnak has not slowed down and you have to wonder if he ever will anytime soon. Pastrnak leads the National Hockey League with ten goals and has played the least amount of games out of anyone in the top thirteen goal-scorers. The 23-year-old is on a remarkable seven-game point streak and a four-game multi-point streak. Pastrnak’s last game saw him score a terrific goal and add an assist as well.
Ivan Barbashev is one of the better depth players on the Blues roster, but so far this season he has not found his point-production that St. Louis most likely wants from him. The 23-year-old forward has only two assists through ten games and is pointless in each of his last six games. Barbashev has averaged around thirteen minutes of time on the ice over the course of that time span, but neither the goals nor points are coming for him right now.
With the absence of David Krejci (upper-body), Charlie Coyle has seen more opportunities in the top-six for the Bruins in order to keep a natural center alongside Jake DeBrusk, but Coyle has not been terrific this season. Off of his strong postseason, Coyle is still yet to find the back of the net and only has two assists to his name with a -3 rating. He also saw more than five minutes of a reduction in ice time in the last game in comparison to last Saturday’s contest. Bruins need him to start producing with Krejci out.
- F Patrice Bergeron is two assists away (498) from 500 career NHL assists
St. Louis Blues:
- F David Perron is two points away (498) from 500 career NHL points
- F Alex Steen is one even-strength goal away (137) from passing Pavol Demitra (137) for sole possession of 7th-most even-strength goals in Blues history
Bruins vs Blues Outlook:
On either side of the ice tonight, expect an emotional battle with memories of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. For the first time since the heartbreaking loss, the Bruins take to the ice with the St. Louis Blues on the opposite side. The challenge will be to not let the memory of June’s result take over their emotions for tonight and for the Blues, they must remember to stay calm against the team they beat for the Stanley Cup.
Bringing things back to the 2019-2020 season, this is one of those games that the entire league will want to watch. Boston and St. Louis are only separated by a single point in the NHL league standings and a win for either side can possibly give them a boost in the overall standings.
The best power-play in the league will look to keep that 35.7% by capitalizing on St. Louis’ 11th-best penalty-kill in the league. Boston’s trio of Marchand, Pastrnak, and Bergeron has put the league on watch with their precise passing and hockey IQ, creating brilliant plays while on the man-advantage. The Bruins know it is one of their big threats and they make teams pay for their penalties.
On the other side, the Blues have the sixth-best power-play in the NHL at 25.8% while the B’s have an 84% success rate on the PK (9th in the NHL). Boston has done a good job on the penalty-kill recently with some great efforts by Brad Marchand in numerous games so far this season.
Some big news for the game tonight – the Blues will be without Vladimir Tarasenko (upper-body) and forward Sammy Blais is considered a game-time decision for the Blues. In Boston, David Krejci will once again be absent, his fourth-straight game out of the lineup, due to an upper-body injury. However, Joakim Nordstrom is expected to return to the lineup for the Black and Gold.
Puck drop for tonight’s Stanley Cup Finals rematch is scheduled for 7:00pm EST from Boston, Massachusetts.
Schwartz – Schenn – Sundqvist
Steen – O’Reilly – Perron
Sanford – Bozak – Thomas
Blais – Barbashev – MacEachern
Parayko – Pietrangelo
Bouwmeester – Faulk
Dunn – Bortuzzo