By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
If the Bruins' most important players don't dominate in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, it would be a massive departure from how they've played in elimination games.
This 2019 playoff run has featured plenty of ups and downs for the Bruins, especially the top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak. They've had another trying series in the Stanley Cup Final. But the trend from the first three series is that they've gotten better as they went along, then absolutely took over in the clinchers.
The B's have played five elimination games so far in the 2019 playoffs, a decent sample size for that kind of spot. In two of them, the Bruins were the team on the brink. Boston is 5-0 in those games, and here are the numbers for the top line:
Bergeron: 3 goals, 2 assists, plus-3
Marchand: 4 goals, 3 assists, plus-5
Pastrnak: 2 goals, 5 assists, plus-4
Even more dominant in elimination games has been the man in goal. Tuukka Rask turned in another excellent outing on Sunday night, adding to what's been a transcendent postseason for the Bruins goaltender. He has stopped 145 of 149 shots in the five elimination games, a .973 save percentage.
Rask has been even better in series clinchers. He's allowed exactly one goal on 96 shots - a .990 save percentage. That means he has more shutouts than goals allowed. So as consistently great Rask has been in this playoff run, he's been at his best with a chance to finish opponents off.
Considering the recent history, there's reason for the Bruins to be confident that their top stars will shine in Game 7 on Wednesday. Prior games are far from a guarantee that the Bruins will have the same results against the Blues. But the next time the Bruins falter in an elimination game this season will be the first.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].