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NHL crowns a new champion tonight! Blues at the Bruins Game 7 Preview

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GAME 7 OFFICIALS

The referees for tonight’s game are Gord Dwyer (No. 19) and Chris Rooney (No. 5). The linesmen are Derek Amell (No. 75) and Scott Cherrey(No. 50).

 

GAME 7 TRENDS

* This marks the 17th Game 7 in Stanley Cup Final history and first since 2011, when the Bruins defeated the Canucks, 4‑0, at Rogers Arena to end a 39-year championship drought. Boston rallied from a 2-3 series deficit with a 5-2 victory in Game 6 at TD Garden to ultimately capture its sixth and most recent Stanley Cup.

 

* Five current Bruins dressed for that 2011 Game 7: Patrice Bergeron (2-0—2, GWG, 4 SOG, +4), Zdeno Chara (27:12 TOI, +2, 2 PIM), David Krejci (18:34 TOI, 2 SOG, 9/14 FO), Brad Marchand (2-1—3, 3 SOG, +3) and Tuukka Rask (DNP).

 

* Home teams own a 12-4 advantage in the 16 prior Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Final, but road teams have won each of the past two – in 2011 (BOS at VAN) and 2009 (PIT at DET).

 

* This marks the sixth Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, one shy of the single-year record achieved in 1994, 2011 and 2014.

 

* Including all rounds, this marks the 178th Game 7 in NHL history. The team that scores first is 131-46 (.740), including an 11-5 record in the Stanley Cup Final and 3-2 clip in 2019. Home teams are 104-73 (.587), including a 4-1 edge in 2019.

 

* Forty-four prior Game 7s have required overtime (24.9%), including a record-setting three of five this year. Home teams are 23-21 in those contests (2-1 in 2019).

 

* Only two Stanley Cup Final Game 7s have gone to overtime, both won by Detroit at home: in 1950, when Pete Babando scored at 8:31 of double-overtime to lift the Red Wings over the Rangers, and 1954, when Tony Leswick scored at 4:29 of the extra session to power Detroit past Montreal.

 

Click here for a closer look at all of the Game 7s in Stanley Cup Final history.

 

* There also were seven winner-take-all games in the Stanley Cup Final prior to 1939, when the series shifted to the best-of-seven format. Those all were decided in Game 5: in 1918 (Arenas-Millionaires), 1920 (Senators-Metropolitans), 1921 (Senators-Millionaires), 1922 (St. Patricks-Millionaires), 1928 (Rangers-Maroons), 1931 (Canadiens-Black Hawks) and 1937 (Red Wings-Rangers).

 

* Both the Bruins and Blues are playing in a Game 7 for the second time this postseason; Boston eliminated Toronto in the First Round (5-1), while St. Louis ousted Dallas in the Second Round (2-1, 2OT). The Bruins have played multiple Game 7s in a single playoff year one other time (2011), while the Blues have done so in three prior postseasons (1968: 2‑0, 1986: 1-1 and 2016: 2-0).

 

* Either the Bruins or Blues will become the 13th team in NHL history to win multiple Game 7s en route to a Stanley Cup, with 2019 marking the third such instance under the current playoff format (also 2014 LAK and 2017 PIT).

 

* This marks the fifth championship Game 7 between franchises from Boston and St. Louis (across the NHL, MLB and NBA). MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Boston Red Sox in seven games in both the 1946 and 1967 World Series. The Boston Celtics beat the St. Louis Hawks in Game 7 of the 1957 and 1960 NBA Finals.

 

BRUINS SET FOR SECOND STANLEY CUP FINAL GAME 7

The Bruins are contesting their second Stanley Cup Final Game 7 (also 2011) and first at home in the franchise’s 95-year history. In fact, the city of Boston is playing host to a championship Game 7 for the first time in exactly 35 years, when the NBA’s Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 111-102, on June 12, 1984, at Boston Garden.

 

Overall, the Bruins have played in an NHL-record 27 Game 7s (22 at home) and have a League-high 15 wins (14-8 at home). That includes a 5-1 victory in Game 7 of this year’s First Round, when Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom each collected 1-1—2 to lift Boston over Toronto.

 

In that series, the Bruins overcame a 2-3 series deficit to advance – a feat they also achieved in their lone other Stanley Cup Final Game 7 (2011 vs. VAN).

 

Center Patrice Bergeron leads Boston with six goals and 10 points in 11 career Game 7s (6-5), while center David Krejci has a team-high nine assists in 10 career Game 7s (6-4). Captain Zdeno Chara is set to play in his 14th career Game 7 (6-7; 0-4—4), which would surpass Patrick Roy (6-7) and Scott Stevens (7-6) for the most in NHL history.

 

Goaltender Tuukka Rask is 3-2 in five career Game 7 appearances (3.18 GAA, .877 SV%), with one such victory in overtime – in the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. TOR. Teammate Jaroslav Halak is 2-1 in three such outings (1.68 GAA, .953 SV%).

 

Bruce Cassidy has served behind the bench for two Game 7s, both wins vs. TOR (in R1 in both 2018 and 2019).

 

BLUES READY FOR FIRST STANLEY CUP FINAL GAME 7

The Blues are playing their 18th Game 7 (9-8) and 11th on the road (4-6). Only two franchises in NHL history have contested more Game 7s as visitors: the Maple Leafs (16) and Canadiens (12).

 

In Game 7 of this year’s Second Round vs. DAL, left wing Pat Maroon scored at 5:50 of double-overtime to propel St. Louis into the Conference Finals for the second time in four years (also 2016). Maroon became the fourth player in Blues history to score a Game 7 overtime winner, following Ron Schock (1968 SF vs. MNS), Kevin O’Shea (1972 QF vs. MNS) and Pierre Turgeon (1999 CQF vs. PHX).

 

Center Robby Fabbri tops St. Louis with three assists and four points in two career Game 7s (2-0). Defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who has not played in a game this postseason, is the only Blues player with multiple goals in Game 7s (2-1—3 in 3 GP; 3-0).

 

Goaltender Jordan Binnington made his Game 7 debut in the Second Round, stopping 29 of 30 shots in St. Louis’ double-overtime victory vs. DAL.

 

Head coach Craig Berube is 1-1 in two career Game 7s behind the bench; his lone loss came with the Flyers in the 2014 First Round at NYR.

 

ROAD TEAM ADVANTAGE?

The road team has won four of the first six games in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final – the highest such total since 2004, when the Lightning and Flames each won twice as visitors. There only have been three instances of road teams combining to win five games in a single Stanley Cup Final: in 1945 (TOR-DET), 1966 (MTL-DET) and 2000 (NJD-DAL).

 

St. Louis is seeking to become the seventh team in NHL history – and first since 2000 – to win three games as a visitor during the Stanley Cup Final. The only teams that have done so: the 1921 Senators (at VMI), 1928 Rangers (at MMR), 1945 Maple Leafs (at DET), 1966 Canadiens (at DET), 1990 Oilers (at BOS) and 2000 Devils (at DAL). Each of the prior six won the Stanley Cup.

 

The Blues are 9-3 overall on the road this postseason, outscoring opponents 38-29. Only five teams in League history have won 10 games as visitors during a single playoff year: the 1995 Devils (10-1), 2012 Kings (10-1), 2000 Devils (10-2), 2018 Capitals (10-3) and 2004 Flames (10-4).

 

BRUINS AIM TO WIN SPECIAL TEAMS BATTLE

Boston has scored at least one power-play goal in four of six games so far this series, going 7-for-23 (30.4%) with the man-advantage while killing off 17-of-18 (94.4%) St. Louis power plays.

 

Overall, the Bruins are clicking at 32.9 percent on the power play this postseason (24-for-73). Only one team in NHL history has posted a higher power-play conversion rate within a single playoff year (since 1977-78, minimum: 50 PPO): the 1981 Islanders (37.8%, 31-for-82).

 

Boston’s 24 power-play goals also are tied for a single-year franchise record set in 1991 (24-for-100). It is the highest total by any team in one postseason since 2006, when Carolina had 31 and Edmonton had 24.

 

BLUES, BINNINGTON LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK (AGAIN)

The Blues are 7-2 following a loss this postseason, outscoring opponents 26-17 in those contests.

 

Goaltender Jordan Binnington has started all nine of those games, compiling a 1.86 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. Only five goaltenders in NHL history have posted as many wins after defeat within a single postseason: Nikolai Khabibulin (8-0 in 2004 w/ TBL), Ron Hextall (8-2 in 1987 w/ PHI), Miikka Kiprusoff (8-3 in 2004 w/ CGY), Marc-Andre Fleury (7-2 in 2009 w/ PIT) and Henrik Lundqvist (7-4 in 2014 w/ NYR).

 

Binnington, who in Game 5 tied the single-postseason record for overall wins by a rookie goaltender, is seeking to become the first rookie netminder in NHL history to earn all 16 victories for his team in one playoff year.

 

Binnington also is attempting to match a League record with his 10th road win of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which would equal Martin Brodeur (10-1 in 1995, 10-2 in 2000, both w/ NJD), Jonathan Quick (10-1 in 2012 w/ LAK), Braden Holtby (10-3 in 2018 w/ WSH) and Kiprusoff (10-4 in 2004 w/ CGY).

 

Only three rookie goaltenders in NHL history have won Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final: Toronto’s Frank McCool in 1945 (at DET), Montreal’s Ken Dryden in 1971 (at CHI) and Carolina’s Cam Ward in 2006 (vs. EDM). Hextall lost Game 7 of the Final in 1987 (at EDM), but took home the Conn Smythe Trophy (15-11, 2.76 GAA, .908 SV%, 2 SO).

 

MARCHAND GOALS = BOSTON VICTORIES

Bruins left wing Brad Marchand scored his 30th career playoff goal (and ninth of 2019) in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Boston improved to 25-1 all time when Marchand scores in the postseason, with the team’s lone such loss in Game 5 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. WSH.

 

Only two other players in NHL history have registered at least 20 career playoff goals, with their team suffering no more than one loss in games in which they scored: Bob Gainey, whose Canadiens had a perfect 22-0 record when he found the back of the net (25 G), and Bobby Rousseau, whose teams went 23-1 when he scored (27 G w/ MTL, MNS and NYR).

 

Marchand now has seven career goals in the Stanley Cup Final (7-4—11 in 19 GP). Only two players in Bruins history have more such goals: Bobby Orr (8-12—20 in 16 GP) and Johnny Bucyk (8-5—13 in 24 GP).

 

O’REILLY ATTEMPTS TO JOIN SHORT LIST

Blues center Ryan O’Reilly (7-14—21 in 25 GP) has scored in three straight games (4-1—5) to match a franchise record for points in a single playoff year, equaling Brett Hull (1990: 13-8—21 in 12 GP), Doug Gilmour (1986: 9-12—21 in 19 GP) and Bernie Federko (1986: 7-14—21 in 19 GP).

 

O’Reilly, who was acquired via an offseason trade, is seeking to become the 14th player in NHL history to score in four consecutive Stanley Cup Final games and first since Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky in 1985 (7-4—11 in 4 GP vs. PHI).

 

RASK IN SERIES-CLINCHING, ELIMINATION GAMES

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask owns a 9-12 record in 21 career potential series-clinching games, compiling a 2.60 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and three shutouts in those contests. That includes a 3-0 clip this year, with a 0.33 goals-against average, .990 save percentage and two shutouts (95 SV/96 SA).

 

Rask also is 6-5 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in 11 career games when facing elimination. That includes a 3-0 record this year, with a 1.34 goals-against average and .953 save percentage (82 SV/86 SA).

 

STANLEY CUP FINAL REMAINS TIGHT ON SCORE SHEET

Four of the six games thus far in the Stanley Cup Final have been decided by one goal, or two goals following an empty-net strike. Overall, the series has been tied or within one goal for 81.5 percent of total playing time. A breakdown:

 

Time Tied Separated by 1 Goal Separated by 2 Goals Separated by 3+ Goals Total Time
134:03 (36.8%) 162:29 (44.7%) 19:29 (5.4%) 47:50 (13.1%) 363:51

 

The Bruins and Blues have held leads for similar times, with Boston doing so for 34.3 percent of total playing time (124:43) and St. Louis at 28.9 percent (105:05).

 

GAME PREVIEW WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com