Stanley Cup Final Preview: Who has the better special teams?
Leading up to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final (Monday, 8 p.m. ET, NBC), Pro Hockey Talk will be looking at every aspect of the matchup between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues.
On paper, this one is hardly a comparison at all.
The Bruins are setting the pace in these playoffs with a 34 percent success rate with the man-advantage, including a whopping 41.7 percent chance to score on the power play on the road.
In 17 postseason games, they have 17 power play goals, five more than the Blues in 12 fewer power-play opportunities. Brad Marchand leads the way with 10 points (two goals, eight assists) with the man-advantage. Patrice Bergeron has been an assassin with six power-play goals. David Pastrnak has seven points, including two goals.
On the kill, the Bruins are running at 86.3 percent, tops among the remaining two clubs and fourth overall. They’ve been shorthanded 51 times, second most this postseason behind the San Jose Sharks.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
This series could come down to how disciplined the Blues can play.
The best way to stop the best power play in the NHL is to not give it any fuel to spark a fire. The Blues have been shorthanded 41 times in the playoffs, which is a relatively low number given how far they’ve come. That will have extra significance given that their penalty kill is 11th among the 16 playoff teams at 78 percent.
On the power play, the Blues are operating at 19.4 percent, including just 9.7 percent on the road. That’s an ugly stat you don’t want to see when you’re beginning the Stanley Cup Final sans home-ice advantage.
Five of Vladimir Tarasenko’s goals (and seven of his 13 points) have come on the power play, which leads the Blues. That’s something the Bruins will have to contend with.
Quirky stat: St. Louis has allowed three shorthanded goals against in these playoffs, most among the 16 playoff teams.
ADVANTAGE: Bruins. Is there even a doubt? Boston’s power play is as lethal as they come. Assuming it stays hot, Boston has the edge by a mile.