At long last, the Stanley Cup Finals are here and the matchup couldn’t be better. The Boston Bruins now know that they’ll be up against the NHL’s Cinderella team, the St. Louis Blues, beginning this Monday with Game 1. The Bruins and Blues represent two of the hardest-playing teams in the NHL. They’ve both succeeded by suffocating opponents’ offenses with stellar defense and shutdown goaltending, and by capitalizing on defensive miscues with lethal offensive attacks. These teams are cut from the same hockey cloth, so it’ll come down to individual performances when determining which club will come out on top.

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The Boston Bruins have been challenged to stay game-ready by a long layoff that began on May 16 following their Game 4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. The rest has allowed Bruins’ veterans Zdeno Chara and David Krejci to get healthy, but they’ll be up against a Blues team that is coming off of a dominating series victory over the San Jose Sharks.

While the Blues have had less time off, there is no question that they have significant momentum heading into Game 1. They were able to overcome a 2-1 series deficit by winning three-straight games against San Jose. The Blues surrendered just two goals in those three contests, so look for them to continue their stifling defensive play. Game time is 8:00 PM ET.

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