It all comes down to this.
For the first time in the Bruins’ 95-year history, Boston will take part in a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final on home ice, with the greatest trophy in sports set to be lifted by either the B’s or Blues Wednesday night.
History, generally speaking, is on the side of the Bruins in this bout, with home teams boasting a .750 win percentage (12-4) during Game 7 of the Cup Final. But beyond the venue, there are many factors falling in favor of Boston when it comes to determining a victor from the first Cup Final to run the gamut of seven games since Bruins/Canucks in 2011.
Here's a look at the seven reasons why the Bruins will clinch their seventh Stanley Cup championship later tonight in front of a raucous Garden crowd. (And three reasons why they won't).
SEVEN REASONS WHY THE BRUINS WILL LIFT THE STANLEY CUP
Tuukka Rask has managed to be even better during closeout scenarios this spring
We've pretty much hit the point where, even if the Bruins come up short on Wednesday, Tuukka Rask very well might take home the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP anyway (and likely toss it in the trash after heading off the ice). Of course, players like Ryan O'Reilly, Alex Pietrangelo, Colton Parayko and Vladimir Tarasenko have all impressed for the Blues, but Rask has simply been on another level this spring.
Through 23 games during this Cup run, Rask is now 15-8 with a .938 save percentage — while his goals saved above average mark 5.97 is still far and away tops among all netminders this postseason.
But during the most pivotal moments of what has now been a two-month campaign for the Bruins, Rask has managed to be even better. When facing elimination against both the Maple Leafs and Blues, Rask is 3-0 with a 1.34 goals-against average and .953 save percentage. In series-clinching scenarios, he's been downright unconscious, stopping 95 of the 96 shots that have come his way. That *takes out calculator* is good for a .990 save percentage.
If he manages to post a clean sheet on Wednesday night, Rask could close out this run by becoming the first goaltender in NHL history to record three series-clinching shutouts in one playoff year. At this point, would you put it past him?
The Blues can't overcome Boston's special-teams dominance