The St. Louis Blues had an opportunity to clinch their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history on Sunday night, but fell short against the Boston Bruins. In that Game 6, Boston took the lead on a 5-on-3 goal in the first period and never relinquished it, eventually winning 5-1 after knocking in an empty net goal late in the third period.
Boston will get to host Game 7 on Wednesday, where they won their only other Game 7 of this postseason back in Round 1. There, the Bruins won Game 6 in Toronto and eliminated the Maple Leafs in Game 7. Meanwhile, St. Louis also has one Game 7 win under their belts this postseason, after they similarly defeated Dallas on the road in Game 6 before winning in double overtime at home in Game 7 to knock out the Stars. The team that wins Game 6 is 4-1 in Game 7s this postseason.
Home ice, on the other hand, may not mean nearly as much for Wednesday’s game. The Bruins and Blues are each 1-2 at home in the Stanley Cup Final.
As far as changes from Game 6 to Game 7, St. Louis gets Ivan Barbashev back. Barbashev was suspended for Game 6 after delivering a hit to the head of Boston’s Marcus Johansson in Game 5. While he’s a fourth line player for the Blues, he has helped tremendously this series with slowing down Boston’s top line.
The Blues will need to do just that if they want to win Game 7, and the best way to do that is to improve their Special Teams play. The Bruins only scored once on four chances on the power play in Game 6, but they were only given one chance until the final minute of play. St. Louis’ Brayden Schenn was called for boarding, and Ryan O’Reilly took a delay of game minor 1:02 later to make it a 5-on-3 for Boston. The Bruins scored just 21 seconds later.
On the other side, St. Louis failed to capitalize on any of their power play opportunities, going 0-for-4 in the game. Boston took three consecutive penalties after taking a 1-0 lead (and had already given the Blues a power play just 2:42 into the contest), but St. Louis failed to score on any of them. The Bruins would extend their lead early in the third period and run away with it from there.
For Game 7, I’m steering clear of the spread. NHL games are usually inadvisable for spread betting; on top of that, this is a playoff game AND a Game 7, and I want none of it. Boston is the betting favorite for this game, coming in at -160 on the moneyline. St. Louis, meanwhile, has +135 payout odds. Game 7s (especially those in the NHL) are very much coin tosses, so taking the team that gives you the better potential payout improves the value of picking that side of the coin.
I felt that St. Louis would win this series when play began, and I haven’t seen anything to change my mind thus far. I would imagine it would be the same for those who felt Boston would win this series before Game 1 got started. The Blues are 7-2 coming off of a loss this postseason, so I’m not too worried there. They’ve lost back-to-back games only twice, to Winnipeg in Round 1 and to Dallas in Round 2. I’m picking the Blues to win the game on the moneyline and take home their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history.
Drew has been covering sports professionally since 2007, covering sports of all kinds in the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Conference USA. In addition to covering college sports, he also spent two seasons working with the NHL's Florida Panthers as part of their TV broadcast team, as well as reporting and anchoring for AT&T SportsNet and FOX Sports affiliates, CBS Sports Network and ESPNU. Drew has also ...
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