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5 Keys: Blues at Bruins, Game 7

Binnington must stand tall for St. Louis; Boston looks to keep power play rolling with Stanley Cup on line

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer


8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS

Best-of-7 series tied 3-3

The Stanley Cup will be awarded to the winner of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final between the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Wednesday.

"I just want my name on the damn Cup," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said.

It's the 17th time the Cup Final will be decided in Game 7 and first since 2011, when the Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. It's the first time Game 7 of the Cup Final will be played in Boston.


[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage]


The Blues are 9-3 on the road and 7-2 in games following a loss in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins are 7-5 at home.

"We're going to be nervous before the game, they're going to be nervous," St. Louis center Brayden Schenn said. "It's the nature of it. It's a big stage, none bigger than this in hockey. It's a great opportunity for everyone on both sides. You may never get this chance again in your lifetime."

Here are 5 keys to Game 7: 

Video: News and notes ahead of a decisive Game 7 of the SCF


1. Manage emotions

The building will be charged up and how the players manage their emotions in the atmosphere before the opening face-off and in the first few minutes of the game will be important.

The team that has scored the first goal has won each of the past four games. 

"You try to stick to your routine as close as possible because that's what makes you comfortable in playing a hockey game," Boston defenseman Torey Krug said. "Try to convince yourself, trick yourself into thinking it's just another game so you can go out and play to your full potential. It's right there, let's go grab this thing."


2. Binnington's bounce back, again

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask has allowed more than three goals once in the 2019 playoffs, in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has allowed three or fewer against in 19 straight games, including two or fewer in 15 of them, four in the Cup Final.

What that means is Blues goalie Jordan Binnington has to be better than he was in Game 6, when he allowed four goals on 31 shots. He is 7-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in games following a loss in the postseason.

"I just play against myself and I want to be the best version of myself I can be," Binnington said. "[Rask] is playing well, but at the same time you've got to just stay focused on yourself and take care of what you can control."

Video: Can Jordan Binnington bounce back in Game 7?


3. Special teams

Boston has owned the special teams battle in the series, outscoring St. Louis 7-1 on the power play. If that continues to go the Bruins' way in Game 7, it could be the difference in who wins the Cup. 

The Blues, though, haven't lost confidence in their power play, which is 1-for-18. They generated 12 shots on goal in going 0-for-4 in Game 6.

However, St. Louis coach coach Craig Berube said adjustments will be made on the power play, including personnel, for Game 7 and the goal is to get in Rask's face more often, make it difficult for him. 

"If we keep fighting there, we're going to get one," Blues center Ryan O'Reilly said. "If we can outcompete their penalty kill we're going to have the opportunities and we've got to put them in."


4. Breaking forechecks

The team that does a better job beating the opposition's forecheck and breaking the puck out of the zone typically has won in this series because their breakouts have led to possession and the ability to generate shots and scoring chances.

"It's little details, that's what it is," St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "When it's one game everything is magnified, but that's what you focus on."

In four of the six games, the team with the most shots on goal has won. 


5. Impact of Grzelcyk's return

Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk likely will be the lineup for the first time since Game 2, when he sustained a concussion when boarded by Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist

A final decision on Grzelcyk's return won't come until game time, Cassidy said, but the coach also indicated it's likely he will return. If he does, Connor Clifton will be scratched.

The Blues likely will try to test Grzelcyk by dumping the puck into his corner to make him turn to go get it. They'll likely try to hit him to see if he can handle the physical play, which he hasn't faced in practice because he has been wearing a non-contact jersey.


Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Zach Sanford -- Ryan O'Reilly -- David Perron

Sammy Blais -- Tyler Bozak -- Pat Maroon

Ivan Barbashev -- Oskar Sundqvist -- Alexander Steen

Carl Gunnarsson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester -- Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn -- Joel Edmundson

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Robert Thomas, Robert Bortuzzo, Robby Fabbri, Michael Del Zotto, Mackenzie MacEachern, Chris Thorburn, Ville Husso, Jordan Nolan

Injured: None


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk -- David Krejci -- Karson Kuhlman

Marcus Johansson -- Charlie Coyle -- Danton Heinen

Joakim Nordstrom -- Sean Kuraly -- Noel Acciari

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk -- John Moore

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Steven Kampfer, David Backes, Connor Clifton

Injured: Chris Wagner (upper body), Kevan Miller (lower body)


Status report 

Barbashev and Edmundson will return to the Blues lineup. Barbashev was suspended for Game 6 because of an illegal check to the head of Johansson in Game 5, and will replace Thomas. Edmundson will replace Bortuzzo after being scratched for Games 5 and 6. Berube said he's using Edmundson, a lefty, instead of Bortuzzo, a righty, because Pietrangelo and Parayko eat up so many minutes on the right side that there isn't a need for another righty.


Listen: Game 7 preview from NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast

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