By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
After almost a week of waiting thanks to their third-round sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes, the Boston Bruins officially have an opponent for the 2019 Stanley Cup Final: the St. Louis Blues.
Taking a 3-2 series lead back to St. Louis following Sunday’s 5-0 win at The Shark Tank, it was in Tuesday’s Game 6 that the Blues simply overwhelmed an obviously shorthanded San Jose group to a 5-1 final.
Going up against a Sharks team without forwards Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski (as well as defenseman Erik Karlsson), the Blues jumped out to a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes behind goals from David Perron (1:32 into the game) and Vladimir Tarasensko (a power-play goal scored with just 3:44 remaining in the period).
The Sharks would respond behind Dylan Gambrell’s first goal of the postseason at the 6:40 mark of the middle frame, but Brayden Schenn quickly re-established St. Louis’ two-goal edge with their second power-play strike of the night.
San Jose had a chance to pull themselves back within a goal with an early-period power-play opportunity in the third, but failed to solve Blues netminder Jordan Binnington during Pat Maroon’s two-minute sentence, and it was Evander Kane who was not able to capitalize on a great one-on-one look against Binnington just before the midway mark of the third period.
It would be Tyler Bozak who officially put the Sharks to bed, though, with a redirect off Gustav Nyquist’s stick and through Martin Jones for the fourth St. Louis tally of the evening, scored with 6:53 left in the game.
And if that wasn’t enough of a cushion (it was), Ivan Barbashev scored an empty-netter to make it a 5-1 final.
Binnington made stops on all but one of the 26 shots thrown his way in the win, good for the franchise-record 12th postseason win of the spring for St. Louis, and now it’s off to Boston for the Blues.
One of 12 NHL teams to lack a Stanley Cup banner in their rafters, this date with Boston will mark the Blues’ first trip to the Stanley Cup since 1970, when they lost to Bobby Orr and the Bruins in four games. (You know the picture.)
The Bruins and Blues split this year’s regular-season series, with Boston grabbing a 5-2 final over St. Louis on Jan. 17, while Craig Berube’s Blues took a 2-1 shootout win over the Black and Gold in a Feb. 23 head-to-head at the Enterprise Center.
This year’s Stanley Cup Final will begin Monday, May 27 with an 8 p.m. start at TD Garden.