Guess what team everyone thought were going to lose in rounds one, two, and three of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. Go on, guess.
If you answered anyone other than the Blues, bless your heart and thank you for trying to pump our tires around here. The Blues have been the underdog in every single playoff round thus far, and it’s not changing.
The Boston Bruins are a hell of a good team. ESPN, before predicting a Bruins victory, breaks down the stats category by category, and in nearly every one, the Bruins have an edge. The Blues excel at blocked shots, hits, takeaways, and SA per game, but their face-off percentage and giveaways have not been strong during the playoffs. The face-off percentage being week includes all of the centers, but it’s especially glaring with Ryan O’Reilly, which has led some to speculate that the center may be injured.
Another number crunching session over at The Athletic (subscription needed) shows the Bruins with a 73% chance to win, though Dom Luszczyszyn questions the complete validity of that season stat comparison. The Bruins have been plowing through teams all year; the Blues’ season basically decided to start in late January.
Nine of 15 NHL.com writers picked the Bruins, though nearly everyone who picked the Blues tossed out the phrase “destiny,” and as we all know, that’s what gets you a parade.
Here’s what you get from The Fourth Period:
The Washington Post is just basically warning America to brace for another Boston championship.
The Athletic’s panel of writers is a little more in-depth than other sources have been with discussing their choices, with three members of the panel - including Scott Burnside - picking the Blues to win. In case you’re wondering, Jeremy Rutherford also selected the hometown team.
Predictions don’t mean squat, but it’s interesting to look at the thoughts of the world of hockey journalism to see where both teams stand. While praising the Bruins, most pundits, regardless of who they picked, had some heavy praise for the Blues’ season and ability to overcome whatever’s been thrown at them. Here’s hoping that includes Tuukka Rask.