Nearly 50 years later, history repeats itself.
The Bruins will face off with the St. Louis Blues starting on Monday in the Stanley Cup Final. The Blues clinched their spot with Tuesday night’s 5-1 win against the San Jose Sharks in Game 6.
There’s plenty of narrative between the B’s and Blues, who have hardly played meaningful games against each other since that fateful Mother’s Day in 1970, when Bobby Orr scored perhaps the most iconic goal in hockey history.
The Blues haven’t been back to the Cup final since.
It would be a heck of a finale to the revenge tour if the Blues can topple the Bruins with all that history between them. And though the Blues weren’t lauded a powerhouse like the Sharks before the playoffs began, they pose plenty of challenges.
The Blues have clinched all their series on home ice, taking Game 6 against Winnipeg, Game 7 against Dallas, and now Game 6 against the Sharks. The Bruins are 6-2 on the road in the playoffs, clinching two rounds on road ice (at Columbus in Game 6 and Game 4 in Carolina), but St. Louis plays tough in its own building.
Another fun story line in the series will be David Backes facing his former team. The teams split their two meetings this season, the B’s losing in a shootout on the road. But there’s still a lot to learn about the Bruins’ toughest playoff opponent yet.
From worst to first
The Blues’ rise has been well-documented, but it’s still hard to believe they went from dead last in the NHL on the second day of 2019 to playing for a Stanley Cup. After firing coach Mike Yeo and replacing him with Craig Berube, the Blues went on a tear, going 38-19-6 to make the playoffs.
First they took down a Winnipeg club that some people thought would make a deep run. They stormed back from a 3-2 series deficit against the Stars.
The Blues had their trials against the Sharks, surviving a Game 3 overtime loss on a controversial goal, to get where they are now.
Rookie goalie Jordan Binnington’s surge coincides with the Blues’ turnaround.
Along with an NHL-best 1.89 goals-against average and .927 save percentage, Binnington was 24-5-1 in the regular season. The former Providence Bruins goaltender has made a name for himself, helping the Blues get back on track and become a major threat to win the Cup.
He silenced the Bruins’ winning streak back in February when he led the Blues to a 1-0 shootout win.
Schwartz on fire
As he has done many times this postseason, Jaden Schwartz stepped up big in the Sharks series, notching a hat trick in the Game 5 victory. He had a big series against the Jets as well in the first round, scoring the game-winner in Game 5 and then a hat trick in the clinching Game 6, and has been one of the hottest players all postseason.
He has 12 goals in 19 playoff games after scoring just 11 in the regular season, supplementing an offense that already has 33-goal scorer Vladamir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly (49 assists).