The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues are set to face off in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday night. For St. Louis, a win would crown them Stanley Cup champions. For Boston, they would like to see this series go to a seventh and final game on home ice.
After a difficult loss on Thursday, the Bruins need to rebound. Most major sportsbooks think they will, as they are the favorites right now at -1.5.
St. Louis is 30-19-4 at home while the Bruins are 27-18-6 on the road. St. Louis has been impressive as the favorite, totaling a 34-23-7 record. The Bruins have also performed decently as the underdog, going 15-10-2.
Boston Need Power-Play Magic
The power play was the bread-and-butter of the Bruins for the majority of the playoffs. Now, it has seemed to have gone cold. Take Thursday’s game, for example. Boston did not score on three opportunities, opportunities that they really needed to take advantage of in a one-goal game.
The Bruins need to focus on getting pucks to the net and shooting when there is available space. They have been passing the puck too much and perhaps have been looking for the most dazzling play over the right one.
If they can re-establish the power play on Sunday, they will be in good shape. Scoring goals in any way they can get them is going to be huge. Boston needs to make sure they have their top scorers out on the power-play unit. They need to be able to be successful.
St. Louis Must Keep It Clean
If Boston needs to work on scoring with a man advantage, St. Louis has to stop giving it to them. In Thursday’s game, the Blues had six penalty minutes. Taking questionable penalties has been a theme for St. Louis throughout this series. They can’t continue to make foolish mistakes.
It is difficult, as this entire series has been very physical. Boston loves to play with an edge, and St. Louis has not been afraid to answer back. Although Boston’s power-play unit has struggled, St. Louis can’t keep giving the Bruins more opportunities. That is a recipe for disaster. If they can finish their checks solidly, St. Louis will have accomplished their mission of physical play, plus staying out of the penalty box.
Stars Need to Show Up
For Boston, they need all of their stars to show up. Players like Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson have played a pivotal role in this series. That has been crucial, as the likes of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Patrice Bergeron have not shown up at times. What was encouraging on Thursday is that those three were able to get shots on goal. Bergeron recorded three, Marchand recorded four, and Pastrnak recorded six.
The trio was able to get shots on goal and find some good looks. However, that is all for naught if they can’t find the back of the net. If Boston wants to win on Sunday, those shots need to be converted into scoring chances.
St. Louis has found an unlikely postseason hero in Ryan O’Reilly. He had two points on Thursday, notching a goal and an assist. Another player who performed at a high level was Tyler Bozak as he tallied an assist.
It must be relieving for St. Louis that those two are thriving, thereby taking some of the pressure off Vladimir Tarasenko. If St. Louis wants to win the game on Sunday, they need those three, in particular, to continue playing well. That is essential for them if they want to win the Stanley Cup on home ice.
I see this series going back to Boston. The Bruins will be hungry to make a statement by winning on the road. I would take the favorite, and that the Bruins on this one, as they will extend the series to a seventh game.