by OddsShark (@OddsShark)
The remarkable turnaround of the St. Louis Blues has been well-documented this postseason, as they not only made the playoffs after sitting last in the NHL in points back on January 3 but have also advanced to their first Stanley Cup final since 1970.
However, this has become a revenge tour for the underdog Blues heading into a championship matchup against the favored Boston Bruins, who swept them in their last Stanley Cup final appearance, with anything short of winning the title a disappointment.
St. Louis has already avenged a loss in the 2016 Western Conference final to the San Jose Sharks in six games as the series favorite by defeating them in six games this year as the underdog. The Blues took a 5-4 overtime loss to the Sharks in Game 3 in stride, using it as motivation to win three straight and earn the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup.
St. Louis head coach Craig Berube has seemingly made all the right moves, with his team using a 7-2 road record to get here, capped by a 5-0 rout at San Jose in Game 5 as a +120 underdog on the NHL betting lines before winning the clincher 5-1 as a -200 favorite on home ice.
The Blues may be listed as +135 underdogs on the Stanley Cup final odds versus the Bruins, but they should not be counted out despite the lack of experience in this round. Boston will be playing in the Stanley Cup final for the third time in nine years and has hoisted the trophy six times while St. Louis has gone 0-12 in three appearances all-time between 1968 and 1970.
The Blues have obviously come a long way since playing for the Stanley Cup in each of their first three years of existence, and they intend to capitalize on the chance this time.
Defensively, St. Louis is a little more stout than Boston even with a rookie goaltender in Jordan Binnington, who has been the key to the team’s turnaround dating back to his promotion as the regular starter in January. Binnington allowed just two goals on 77 shots in the last three games against the Sharks for a .974 save percentage, and how he performs opposite counterpart Tuukka Rask could be the difference in the series.
Offensively, the Blues are led by winger Jaden Schwartz, who has scored more goals in the postseason (12) than he did during the regular season (11). Schwartz epitomizes his team’s reborn identity, finally playing up to his potential when it matters the most.
One thing bettors should be a bit leery of though with St. Louis going into the Stanley Cup final is a mediocre home record in the playoffs. The Blues are 5-5 in 10 games at Enterprise Arena this postseason, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, losing money for their backers overall in closing as favorites each time.
But the good news is that they were still able to find a way to clinch each previous series at home on their first attempt, something they hope to have a shot at again versus the Bruins.
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