by OddsShark (@OddsShark)
One can certainly argue that the Boston Bruins had one of the easier paths to the Stanley Cup final in years, beating the Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes in the last two rounds after knocking out the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round. But nobody can dispute the clutch postseason play of goaltender Tuukka Rask, who has emerged as the favorite on the odds to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP for the favored Bruins.
Boston is a -165 series betting favorite (wager $160 to win $100) at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com over the St. Louis Blues for good reason. However, the best reason to back the Bruins is Rask’s domination of opponents when it has mattered the most, including clinching shutouts on the road against both the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes. Boston just swept Carolina in four games in the Eastern Conference final, with Rask allowing only five goals on 114 shots for an outstanding .956 save percentage. That alone should make bettors consider the favorites here.
Of course Boston’s road to the Stanley Cup final did not start out easy, with the team falling behind Toronto 2-1 and 3-2 in their first-round series before winning the last two games by a 9-3 margin. A 2-1 series deficit also faced the Bruins in the second round before they rallied with three straight wins, two of which took place at Columbus.
Beating the two Eastern Conference Wild Card teams to earn the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup may not seem overly impressive, but it is how Boston did it that should be noted. Carolina was coming off a sweep of the New York Islanders in the second round and had upset the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals in the first. And the Blue Jackets pulled off the biggest shocker of the postseason in sweeping the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning, who had won the Presidents’ Trophy as well.
Regardless, the Stanley Cup is known to be the hardest trophy to win in all of sports, and the Bruins get to play for it for the third time in nine years. They are riding a seven-game winning streak – their longest in the playoffs since 1972 – and deserve to be favored versus the Blues. They are 6-1 in their last seven games as favorites on the NHL betting lines and 5-1 in their previous six as underdogs.
The total has also gone UNDER in seven of their last 10 games, so that is something to consider for bettors too in what could be a low-scoring series dominated by the two goalies.
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