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Stanley Cup Final Game 5 St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins Preview

In what has been an incredible back and forth matchup through the first four games of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins will go toe-to-toe at TD Garden Thursday night in Game 5. The Bruins come in as the favorite at -310. However, as the status of defenseman Zdeno Chara, captain for the Bruins, becomes more clear, the line may move.

Gain a Defenseman, Lose a Defenseman?

Chara was injured in Game 4 after a shot deflected off his stick and hit him in the face. Reports are saying that he has a broken jaw, but in true playoff hockey fashion, Boston coach Bruce Cassidy is playing it close to the vest, not ruling Chara out for Game 5. Chara did not skate on Wednesday, and an announcement on his availability will be made early Thursday.

Meanwhile, defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who has been out since Game 2 after being in concussion protocol following a hit by Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist, practiced in a non-contact jersey Wednesday, but he is also questionable for Game 5. After Chara’s exit in Game 4, the Blues had their way in the Bruins’ zone, including a three-minute shift where defenseman Connor Clifton was stuck on the ice for the entire three minutes. Goaltender Tuukka Rask continues to dazzle, as he saved 34 of 37 shots.

Blues Look to Improve on Power Play

With the possible loss of Chara, the St. Louis Blues will look to get inside position on the power play. The Blues have had a rough time on the man advantage in the Final, going just 1 for 12. They also gave up a short-handed goal in Game 4. Coach Craig Berube said that the team will not change its game plan whether Chara plays or not, but one would have to think that they will try to get to the net to pressure Rask.

Center Ryan O’Reilly had a game to remember Monday night as he scored twice, including the first goal just 43 seconds into the game, as well as the game-winner in the third period. Vladimir Tarasenko added his 11th of the playoffs, and Brayden Schenn added a rare empty netter for the Blues, who have had their share of trouble throughout the playoffs when the opposition vacates their net. Goaltender Jordan Binnington will tie the rookie record for wins in a single postseason with his next victory. He was solid in Game 4, stopping 21 of 23 shots.

Prediction Time

Fun fact: The team that wins Game 5 after being tied 2-2 has won the Stanley Cup 72% of the time. If the Bruins get either Grzelcyk or Chara back for Game 5, they will get a huge boost emotionally. However, this being relatively unlikely means that you should take the Blues to win Game 5.

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