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Bruins vs. Blues: Fast facts for 2019 Stanley Cup Final showdown

Bruins vs. Blues: Fast facts for 2019 Stanley Cup Final showdown

The Boston Bruins finally know which team they'll face in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

The St. Louis Blues will take on the B's for the greatest trophy in sports. Game 1 of the Cup Final is Memorial Day evening at TD Garden in Boston, so both teams have plenty of time to rest and prepare for what should be  an exciting series.

The Bruins and Blues have met twice in the playoffs, including the 1970 Stanley Cup Final when Boston legend Bobby Orr won the series with his famous flying goal in overtime of Game 4. The Blues have never won a Stanley Cup, and their 51-year championship drought is tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the longest such streak in the NHL. St. Louis also is searching for its first Stanley Cup Final win, having gone 0-12 in its three previous appearances.

Here are some fast facts to know for the upcoming Bruins vs. Blues matchup in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

How they got here: The Bruins beat the Leafs in a seven-game first-round series, then dispatched the Columbus Blue Jackets in a six-game second-round matchup before sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final. The Blues upset the Winnipeg Jets in a six-game first-round series, then defeated the Dallas Stars in a seven-game second-round series before eliminating the San Jose Sharks in six games during the Western Conference Final.

Home cooking: The Bruins will have home ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1990. They went 3-0 at home in the 2011 Cup Final and 1-2 in the 2013 series. Boston is 6-3 at home in the 2019 playoffs. The Blues are 7-2 on the road this postseason and went 21-13-7 away from home during the regular season.

Head-to-head: The B's and Blues met twice in the regular season.

Thursday, Jan. 17 in Boston: Bruins won 5-2
Saturday, Feb 23. in St. Louis: Blues won 2-1 in a shootout

Goaltender matchup: Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is 6-2-4 with a .924 save percentage and a 2.12 GAA in 13 career games against the Blues. He's the leading Conn Smythe Trophy candidate through the first three rounds with a 12-5 record, a .942 save percentage and a 1.84 GAA. He went 1-0-1 and stopped 56 of the 59 shots he faced in two games versus St. Louis this season.

Blues netminder Jordan Binnington enjoyed a fantastic rookie campaign and has taken that success into the postseason. He was 11-7 with a .912 save percentage and a 2.44 GAA entering Tuesday night's Game 6 versus the Sharks. Binnington stopped 31 of 32 shots in a 2-1 shootout win over the B's on Feb. 23, which is his only career appearance against Boston.

Stat breakdown: Here's how these teams compare in notable stats from the regular season (NHL rank in parenthesis).

GOALS
BOS: 3.13 (11th)
STL: 2.98 (15th)

GAA
BOS: 2.59 (3rd)
STL: 2.68 (T-5th)

PP%
BOS: 25.9 (3rd)
STL: 21.1 (10th)

PK%
BOS: 79.9 (16th)
STL: 81.5 (9th)

Here's how they compare through three rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs:

GOALS/G
BOS: 3.35
STL: 3.00

GAA
BOS: 1.94
STL: 2.52

PP%
BOS: 34.0
STL: 19.3

PK%
BOS: 86.3
STL: 78.0

Click here for five Blues players who Bruins fans should know>>>

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Brad Marchand disses Ryan Lindgren after exchanging blows

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USA Today Sports Images

Brad Marchand disses Ryan Lindgren after exchanging blows

Brad Marchand had a feisty game against the New York Rangers on Sunday afternoon that included notching his 51st assist of the season in the 3-1 win at Madison Square Garden. The Bruins left winger also got into it physically with a few Rangers players along the way, including former Bruins prospect and current Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren.

Lindgren lined Marchand up for a hit in front of the Rangers bench in the first period that the B’s forward sidestepped, and then the two scuffled in a sequence that landed Lindgren in the box with a retaliatory roughing penalty.

During a key stretch late in the second period, it was Lindgren again starting a shoving match with Patrice Bergeron in front of the New York net. Marchand stepped in to help defend his linemate during the scrum, but then got knocked off his feet by a nasty cross-check from behind by Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich.  

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The force of the impact knocked Marchand’s helmet off and sent him flying to the ice, but he ended up getting the only penalty called against him. The Bruins got the last laugh, though, when Charlie Coyle scored the shorthanded game-winner during the ensuing Rangers power play, and Marchand was spotted celebrating in the penalty box after the breakaway goal.  

After the game, the ever-quotable Marchand was asked about Lindgren by reporters in New York, and he let the bottom-pairing Rangers defenseman have it by unloading both of his verbal barrels on the youngster.

"He's not going to be a player there that's going to have a very long career,” said Marchand. “I'm not overly concerned about him. ... He's a good, steady defenseman ... All the best to him, hope he does a great job. But I can't see it."

Ouch. Marchand and the Bruins won on the scoreboard, and then again with the postgame chirps from Madison Square Garden.

Bruins-Rangers Talking Points: Charlie Coyle continues dominant play in B's win

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USA Today Sports Images

Bruins-Rangers Talking Points: Charlie Coyle continues dominant play in B's win

GOLD STAR: Charlie Coyle has picked up the scoring pace as of late with four goals in his last five games. And now he was scored in two straight games after picking up the shorthanded game-winning goal for the Bruins on Sunday afternoon.

Coyle was a dominant force again on Sunday against the Rangers from his third line center spot and has played with the same kind of strength, motor and relentless play that everybody saw from him in the playoffs last year. Even better, Coyle is now on a pace to get close to 20 goals this season for the Bruins, and his play in Sunday’s game was a beauty. He broke up a play at the Rangers offensive blue line, sped behind the New York power play and then threw a couple of moves at Alexander Georgiev before flipping a forehand bid past him late in the second period.

Coyle finished with the goal, a plus-2 rating, three shots on net and a hit and a takeaway in 15:57 of ice time for the Bruins.

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BLACK EYE: Pavel Buchnevich certainly made a statement about his game on Sunday. He was a team-worst minus-3 and he managed to miss the net with all four of his shot attempts.

But the biggest moment was his cheap cross-check to an unsuspecting Brad Marchand that knocked the Bruins forward’s helmet off as he squared up with Ryan Lindgren after the New York defenseman started trouble with Patrice Bergeron.

Buchnevich also had a giveaway in 17:14 of ice time as many of New York’s best players simply didn’t do enough in a game that the Rangers desperately needed to stay in shouting distance of the playoffs. But it’s amazing that Buchnevich wasn’t called for even a minor penalty for throwing a major cheap shot at one of the NHL’s best players.

TURNING POINT: The turning point for the game was the cheap shot Buchnevich threw on Marchand. Marchand was the only one whistled for a penalty as he cross-checked Lindgren while sticking up for his linemate Bergeron, and then Buchnevich came out of nowhere to knock the Bruins winger off the ice with a cross-check from behind.

The force of the Buchnevich two-hander knocked Marchand’s helmet off, but somehow there was no minor penalty called on him.

As the saying goes, though, the puck don’t lie. With Marchand in the box for what should have been matching penalties, Charlie Coyle scored on a shorthanded breakaway for the game-winning goal at the end of the second period.

HONORABLE MENTION: As has been the case for a number of games since the NHL All-Star break, Charlie McAvoy was one of the best players on the ice for the Bruins. McAvoy scored another goal when his point shot deflected off a Rangers body in front before fluttering in past Georgiev, and gave the Bruins an early 1-0 lead in the game.

McAvoy finished with a game-high 24:52 of ice time, scored a goal, had five shot attempts and was a plus-1 rating while throwing two registered hits and blocking a couple of shots as well.

McAvoy played an elite, tough level at both ends of the ice and was pushing the envelope offensively in a way he wasn’t doing earlier in the season when his confidence wasn’t at an all-time high. McAvoy is playing his best hockey of the season right now and Sunday’s win was another example of it.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – the number of assists in Sunday’s win for the Bruins despite scoring three goals. Brad Marchand had the lone assist on Patrice Bergeron’s empty netter while Charlie McAvoy and Charlie Coyle’s goals were both unassisted earlier in the game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “He's not going to be a player there that's going to have a very long career. I'm not overly concerned with him." –Brad Marchand on New York Rangers defenseman (and former Bruins prospect) Ryan Lindgren after the two players scuffled a couple of times during Sunday’s matinee.