The time for talk is over as Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues happens tonight. Over the past 11 days, the players could practice, and the players could talk. Now it’s time to get back on the ice.
Brad Marchand said it best after practice on media day “I wanted a day off. I’ve had enough practice. I’m good.” There has been a lot of talk about whether or not the Bruins would show rust once the puck drops. The Bruins are focused and ready to get back to work and bring another title back to the city of Boston.
Both teams are very evenly matched and are mirror images of each with a great top line, good goaltending, and depth scoring. One of the keys to the series will be a fast start for the Bruins. St. Louis is known to have fast starts — look at their history in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In the 19 games St. Louis has played, they have scored the first goal 12 times, and St. Louis is especially potent within the first five minutes of a game. St. Louis is 5-0 when they score a goal within the first two minutes of the 1st period.
The Bruins must be prepared to come out strong or could find themselves down early. I went through every game St. Louis played in the playoffs on NHL.com and created a first-period scoring table from the stats. As you can see the Bruins have the work cut out for them especially early in the first period.
When you take a look in the numbers, you can see that St. Louis is just as aggressive as the Bruins are on the forecheck. And most of the goals are scored have been scored by the bottom six forwards on the roster and off turnovers. This series will come down to which fourth line will score the most goals.
|Round||Game||Opponent||Time Goal was Scored||Period||Scored by|
|1||Game 2||@ Winnipeg||5:23||1||Oskar Sundqvist|
|1||Game 6||vs. Winnipeg||:23 seconds||1||Jaden Schwartz|
|2||Game 1||vs. Dallas||5:57||1||Robby Fabbri|
|2||Game 3||@ Dallas||1:27||1||Jaden Schwartz|
|2||Game 6||@ Dallas||1:03||1||Alex Pietrangelo|
|3||Game 2||@ San Jose||2:34||1||Jaden Schwartz|
|3||Game 2||@ San Jose||4:16||1||Vince Dunn|
|3||Game 4||vs. San Jose||:35 seconds||1||Ivan Barbashev|
|3||Game 5||@ San Jose||5:50||1||Oskar Sundqvist|
|3||Game 6||vs. San Jose||1:32||1||David Perron|
Just like St. Louis, Boston has scored 16 first period goals in the playoffs, and both teams have 57 goals for in the playoffs. These teams are evenly matched.
When the Bruins score the first goal or lead after the first period, they are 7-0 in the playoffs. St. Louis is 6-0 in the playoffs with the lead after the first period. Something will have to give.
The Bruins will need to avoid a slow start in every game to win the Stanley Cup. Since the Stanley Cup Final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939, the team that has won Game 1 has gone on to capture the Cup 77.2% of the time (61 of 79 series).
One thing to pay attention as Game 1 begins is how the Bruins handle the aggressive forecheck of St. Louis. St. Louis comes in waves and will want to play physical against the Bruins defense. The proper adjustments will allow the Bruins to have success against a St. Louis team that is hard to play against.
Puck drop for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup is scheduled for 8 pm EST on NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, TVAS