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BOSTON — In special teams, the Boston Bruins dominated the first four games of the Stanley Cup final. When the teams were skating 5-on-5, it was a different story. The St. Louis Blues only outscored Boston, 10-8, at even strength heading into Game 5 Thursday night but the Blues had nearly 56 percent of the shot attempts and Boston's top players were producing little. It…

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BOSTON – Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will be making a virtually unprecedented attempt to play a hockey game Thursday night in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final. Less than 72 hours after taking a puck to the mouth and reportedly breaking his jaw in the second period of Game 4, Chara returned to the Boston Bruins' lineup for the crucial swing game against the St. Louis Blues…

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BOSTON – We're getting late into a series. On the road. In this playoff year, that has been in the St. Louis Blues' wheelhouse. The Blues are 6-1 in Games 5-7 of their previous three series and have outscored their opponents, 23-9, in those games. And on the road, they're an NHL-best 8-3 in this postseason. So it would appear things are setting up nicely for them hea…

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BOSTON – There's a maximum of three games left in the season and the Boston Bruins are picking about the worst time to get paper-thin on defense. The Stanley Cup final with St. Louis is tied at two wins apiece and two of the potential three remaining games are slated for TD Garden, beginning with Game 5 here Thursday night. But the Bruins are almost certainly going t…

Columns

BOSTON – Oh, Hockey Gods. You big jokesters. Imagine how bizarre it is to consider the finish of Wednesday's thriller in TD Garden. The first Stanley Cup final win in the 52-year history of the St. Louis Blues came on an overtime goal. In Boston. By a defenseman wearing No. 4. Seriously. Carl Gunnarsson is never going to be confused with Bobby Orr, whether you're …

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BOSTON – Boo Zdeno Chara all you want. Folks at KeyBank Center aren't the only ones who do it. When you're 6 feet, 9 inches – before adding skates – you're going to be a lightning rod for catcalls around the NHL. But for many years now, the boos also include a modicum of respect for a larger-than-life player. Chara has been one of the biggest visiting villains in Buf…

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BOSTON – Will the streaks continue? That's a big storyline for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues Wednesday night in TD Garden. Boston is red-hot in this year's playoffs and St. Louis is ice-cold in franchise history in the Cup final. Virtually no Bruins took the ice Wednesday morning while almost all of the Blues did. Tonig…

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BOSTON – This is a Stanley Cup final all about second chances. Nowhere is that more true than when it comes to Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. Left on the scrapheap as a failed coach in Washington 15 years ago, Cassidy seemed destined to a career in the minors. And he was OK with that. But when Claude Julien's best-by date had passed, Cassidy was doing a great job in the AH…

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BOSTON – The St. Louis Blues lost the opener of the series and faced a 2-1 deficit after three games of the Western Conference final against San Jose. They were in a 3-2 hole in the second round against Dallas. They've been down this road before, so losing Monday's opener of the Stanley Cup final isn't going to faze them. The Blues, of course, came all the way back f…

Columns

BOSTON – The rust of 11 days off lasted 21 minutes. Then the Boston Bruins roared back to life. The Bruins spotted the St. Louis Blues a 2-0 lead and then came up with the response they needed to pull out a 4-2 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final Monday night before a howling crowd at TD Garden. And it wasn't the big names that did the damage. Brad Marchand's …

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BOSTON – Gary Bettman didn't even wait for the questions. He addressed the elephant in the room Monday night before it even started its approach. In what probably ranks as the frankest comments about the state of officiating and instant replay of his career, Bettman's annual address prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final was used mostly to say the NHL is going to take…

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BOSTON – Save some for us. Buffalo is not the only city that might be sending that message to folks here as the Bruins opened the Stanley Cup final Monday night against the St. Louis Blues. Forget about Green Bay. Boston has become Titletown and it's reaching the height of absurdity. No city has had three reigning champions in the four major sports in 83 years. A …

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BOSTON – The home team has been the NHL's hottest one in the playoffs, the visitors the league's best since January. It makes for quite a matchup in the Stanley Cup final as the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues meet in Game 1 Monday in TD Garden. Faceoff on NBC Monday is a little later than normal, at 8:23 p.m. ET once all the pregame ceremonies are out of the way. The…

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BOSTON – With the Bruins and St. Louis Blues facing off in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final here Monday night, here's a look back at the Sabres' six games this season against the league's finalists: Oct. 4 at KeyBank Center – Bruins 4, Sabres 0: Buffalo's season opener was a disaster as Boston bounced back from a 7-0 whitewash in its first game the night before in Washin…

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Mike Harrington The Blues are an incredible story but the depth of the Bruins would ordinarily make them a solid pick here. What gives me pause is Boston's 11-day break after wrapping up the Eastern Conference final. While that might be good to heal Zdeno Chara's 42-year-old body, that's an awfully long time away from game action to keep your edge. Even at this time of …