Our event of the day is Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final as the Boston Bruins do battle with the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden. The Bruins will head into the series as strong favourites to lift the coveted title, but the Blues have already eliminated some of the league’s heavyweights on their journey to the Final and their fans will now start to dream of seeing a Stanley Cup in the Blues’ empty trophy cabinet. This matchup is a repeat of the 1970 Stanley Cup Final series, on which occasion Boston swept St. Louis to prevail 4-0 and lift their fourth championship.
Since that season, the Bruins have gone on to win two more Stanley Cups, ranking them amongst the NHL’s elite teams, with only three franchises having won the competition more times. They have continued to flex their muscles during this extraordinary campaign, finishing second in the Eastern Conference after accumulating an impressive 49 wins. After an early scare against the Toronto Maple Leafs who forced a Game 7 decider in round 1, Boston have ultimately looked consummately comfortable in this playoff phase and lost just two games in the ensuing series’. Boston’s defence has been outstanding throughout the campaign, and they are continuing to squash offences in the postseason, having conceded just 33 goals in their 17 outings so far. Much of their success on the defensive end is thanks to goaltender Tuukka Rask, who has recorded a save percentage of 0.942 and conceded an average of 1.84 goals per game in the postseason, leading the league in both categories. Rask now faces one of the most problematic assignments in the entire league in slowing down St. Louis Blues’ free-flowing offence. They have notched 152 points in the playoffs so far, with only San Jose recording more, having played one more game. 26-year-old Jaden Schwartz is having a season to remember, and he is currently leading the scoring stakes for his side as he looks to overtake Logan Couture in the league’s playoff top scorer race. Schwartz has notched 12 times in the postseason, two fewer than Couture, and looks certain to overtake the San Jose man who has played his last playoff game of the campaign. For Schwartz, the Stanley Cup Final is unchartered territory as since joining the Blues in the 2011/12 season, their best finish was a Conference Final defeat in 2016, highlighting their distinct lack of experience when it comes to deep runs in the playoffs. However, in their two regular season meetings with the Bruins, each side won the home tie, and although Boston will be favourites before a puck is dropped, St. Louis will feel they have every chance of lifting that prestigious Stanley Cup next month. It should be a thrilling finals series, starting tonight in Boston.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the EFL Championship as the playoff final takes place at Wembley Stadium between Aston Villa and Derby County. Dubbed the ‘richest game in football’, it really is a winner takes all situation with the prevailing side securing a place in the Premier League next year, whilst the losers are condemned to another year in England’s second flight. After a thrilling opening day of action, the French Open resumes today with plenty of big names set to grace the clay courts of Roland Garros. Having already won a record breaking 11 titles at this famous tournament, Rafael Nadal will begin his bid to notch a 12th as he takes on German Yannick Hanfmann today in the Round of 128. Elsewhere, there is plenty of cricket in the County Championship to watch out for today as bottom-placed Warwickshire take on Surrey at Edgbaston in Birmingham. In the MLB, the LA Dodgers welcome the New York Mets to Dodger Stadium, with the hosts having won 13 of the last 15 meetings with the New York-based outfit. Finally, England continue their warm-up for the cricket World Cup as they take on Afghanistan at The Oval.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by NHL
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