Some people were dreaming of seeing Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks face the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.
Those folks had their hopes dashed Tuesday, when the St. Louis Blues ushered the former Bruins captain and his Sharks out of the postseason with a 5-1 win Game 6 of the Western Conference Final.
So it’ll be the Blues and Bruins in the Cup Final starting Monday.
That means instead of the Bruins’ former captain having a chance to beat his old team, the Blues’ former captain will attempt to do that with Boston. David Backes spent 10 seasons with the Blues, including the last five as their captain.
Backes signed with Boston as an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2016. On the Blues’ all-time charts he ranks fifth in games played (727), seventh in goals (206), 10th in assists (254) and seventh in points (460). More importantly, he never got past the conference finals with the Blues, and now he’s four wins away from winning the Cup with Boston.
Here are some other things you need to know about the Blues before the Final begins in six days:
*The Blues haven’t been to the Cup Final since 1970, when Bobby Orr’s overtime goal completed Boston’s sweep of St. Louis.
*Since Backes left St. Louis the Blues captain has been defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, whom Backes considers one of his closest friends.
*Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington is a finalist for the Calder Trophy, and he’s continued his rookie-year success from the regular season into the postseason. He led the NHL in goals-against average (1.89) during the regular season. He’s he first Blues goalie and 10th rookie goal in NHL history to record at least 10 wins in the same postseason.
In a strange twist, several Bruins are more familiar with Binnington than many opponents because he played last season for Boston’s Providence farm team. The Blues shared an AHL affiliate last season and didn’t have a goalie spot for him there, so they loaned him to Providence. For the P-Bruins he had a .926 save percentage in 28 games.
*Brayden Schenn still plays for St. Louis. Around midseason when the Bruins were shopping for a third-line center, Schenn’s name surfaced in trade rumors. The Bruins didn’t get him and the Blues kept him. Schenn finished with 54 points (17 goals, 37 assists) in 72 games in the regular season. He’s been quieter in the postseason, but his second goal of the playoffs gave the Blues a 3-1 lead in their Game 6 win against San Jose.
*Blues power forward Pat Maroon has fought Bruins captain Zdeno Chara twice.
The second time was this past Jan. 17.
The first time was Jan. 5, 2017 when Maroon was on the Edmonton Oilers.
There’ll be plenty more to learn about and discuss between now and the start of the series, and during the series. The puck will finally drop (I promise) on Monday.
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