The 2019 Stanley Cup final series is right around the corner, and the HabsWorld experts provide their latest set of predictions. Will the upstart St. Louis Blues finally win their first ever Cup championship, or will the Habs hated rivals Boston Bruins succeed?
2019 Stanley Cup Final
St. Louis Blues vs Boston Bruins
Norm Szcyrek predicts: Bruins in 5 games
Kevin Leveille predicts: Bruins in 6 games
Brian La Rose predicts: Bruins in 7 games
Jonathan Rebelo predicts: Bruins in 6 games
Craig Scharien predicts: Bruins in 6 games
Terry Costaris predicts: Bruins in 6 games
Tom Donovan predicts: Bruins in 5 games
(Norm) To me, this is a tough series to predict. Both Tuukka Rask and Jordan Binnington have provided excellent goaltending during the first three rounds and have played significant roles for their teams’ success to date. Both Boston and St. Louis have very good defence corps. The Bruins are led by the likes of Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara, and Charlie McAvoy, while the Blues leaders are Alex Pietrangelo, Vince Dunn, and Colton Parayko. Up front, the Bruins core players have been exceptional so far, with super-pest Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron supporting their team, while Vladimir Tarasenkio and Jaden Schwartz have done the same for the Blues.
In the end, the edge goes to Boston who has been scoring on the power play at a 34% rate through the postseason, while St. Louis’ penalty killing is at a lacklustre 78% efficiency rate. The Bruins also have better numbers when it comes to team goals scored and goals against. When combining those factors and the experience of several of their veterans with previous Stanley Cup runs, the scales tip towards Boston who will take their 7th championship.
(Kevin) As had been the case for many series involving the Bruins, my head says they’ll win but my heart wants otherwise. Both teams feature a deep talent pool on offence with some star power at the top, a good mix of veteran leadership and talent on the blue line, and some top-notch goaltending. The Bruins have been here before though and that’s ultimately the advantage that they have. However, the Blues have the advantage of rolling in and not coming off a huge break. For other teams, this may be a disadvantage, but in this case, St. Louis is rather healthy so I think it’s an advantage. If the Blues want to win this, it’ll have to be short. The Bruins big game pedigree shows up the longer this series goes. Hoping to create some bad luck, my official prediction will be Bruins in 6.
(Brian) Boston seems to be the popular choice but this should be a closer series than I think some believe it will be. Binnington has stolen games in each series and it’s reasonable to think he’ll do so again. The Blues also have a strong back end that should make an impact as well.
However, I’m still going with the Bruins. Their top line has been quiet for good chunks of the postseason but that will change (or I’ll be proven wrong for a third straight round). They can win games on their own and I expect that will happen on multiple occasions. Rask is having a very strong postseason as well and should also be able to steal a game or two on his own. That alone may be enough but I also expect that Jake DeBrusk will make his presence felt after a relatively quiet playoff performance thus far. It’s going to be close but give me Boston with home ice in the seventh and final game.
(Craig) It pains me to do it, but I think Boston wins yet another major championship and the Bruins get their second Stanley Cup in eight seasons. The Blues have had the magic touch throughout these playoffs, and Jordan Binnington has been solid in net, however, Tuukka Rask is the Conn Smythe favourite coming in and I believe he’ll outduel the youngster. The Blues boast tremendous depth up front, but if there’s a team in the league that can match it, it’s Boston and the top end of the Bruins’ forward group, featuring Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak, is significantly stronger than the group in St. Louis.
(Terry) Like any Habs fan, my heart wants to see Boston lose in 4. I also have a soft spot for St. Louis as it would nice to see this original expansion team finally win a Cup but my brain tells me that the Bruins will likely win in 5 or 6 games.
Boston is both better rested than Blues and has a better all-round team with plenty of Stanley Cup final experience. A lot of my prediction though begins and ends on Tuukka Rask’s shoulders. He can get rattled. So who knows.