Boston Bruins vs St. Louis Blues - Repeat from 49 years ago
The NHL Stanley Cup Finals 2019 feature - once again - a very unlikely participant from the Western Conference and somewhat of a surprising representative from the East. While eastern Boston Bruins are a regular contender, western St. Louis Blues make their first visit to Stanley Cup Finals in 49 years. Not to mention they were dead last around Christmastime.
Blues were considered outsiders and underdog in each of their playoff-series, but they went on to sensationally beat Winnipeg Jets in the first round and then Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks on their way to Stanley Cup finals. The proper Cinderella story in the making, Blues was ready throw in the towel half-way through the season, making most of their players available for transfer and changing a head coach after a terrible start. Their flight took off around New Years and since then they've been virtually unstoppable.
Rookie goalkeeper Jordan Binnington has had an unbelievable season so far, stepping in for shaky Jake Allen. Blues top forwards Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn and Ryan O'Reilly have stepped up their game, but overall Blues' success is based on solidifying the defense and playing a hard-nosed, never-give-up-style of hockey - a lot similar to that of traditional Boston Bruins.
If Binnington has been solid, Tuukka Rask for Boston has been a wall. Not much goes past him and with Boston defense able to shut down most of the critical chances, it is extremely difficult to score against the B's. They've allowed only 1.94 goals a game, while Blues' number is 2.53. Bruins might have had a bit easier route to the finals than Blues. After narrowly beating Leafs in seven games, they trumped Columbus 4-2 and then swept Carolina Hurricanes in four games. Safe to say Boston are on top of their game, with first line of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand matching the exact point tally of the Blues' first line.
Both teams have big and strong defense, and both teams play hard. Bruins have a small edge on puck-moving d-men, as both Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy have the skill and pace to support the offense. Blues' top defensemen are more of an old-school giants, as Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko move the puck fast and shoot hard, but are probably not as mobile. In offense, it’s as even as can be: both teams have scored the exact same amount of goals.
Overall it’s difficult to find weak points in either of the teams or make a big difference in any aspect. Boston does have the home advantage and more experience from the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, but Blues' top players are definitely not wet behind the ears either.
In Accuscore simulations Boston has been a bit underrated throughout the season, while faith in Blues stood quite strong through the struggles. In the NHL Stanley Cup Finals 2019, Boston is a slight favorite but Blues is very likely to make it an extremely tough matchup.
Accuscore's NHL Stanley Cup Finals 2019 simulations predict the Bruins to win the Cup with 56% probability, while 44% goes for the Blues. The series goes to 7 games with 31% probability and Boston wins the series in 7 games with 17.4% likelyhood.
Accuscore vs odds
Vegas odds indicate Bruins to be favored for about 60% so compared to simulations, thats not a good bet. The Blues however receive odds of +140 | 2.40 which means that compared to Accuscore simulations, Blues winning the Cup has some value, if only a bit more than 2%. Looking at quite likely even series, it might be worth considering betting on reaching game 7, which in Accuscore simulations happens with 31% probability