Stanley Cup Final 2019: Three things to watch for in Bruins-Blues Game 7

The Blues and Bruins are going to Game 7, and it’s going to be a treat.

For the first time since 2011, the Stanley Cup Final will require a deciding game to determine this year’s champion after a Boston rally kept St. Louis from closing out the series in Game 6 on Sunday.

The Blues are still in the hunt for the team’s first championship in its 51-year history, while the Bruins are seeking their seventh overall and second since 2011.

Here are three things to watch for in Wednesday’s winner-take-all showdown in Boston:

Ryan O’Reilly, Alex Pietrangelo prepped for Blues playoff milestones

Blues center Ryan O’Reilly extended his point streak to five games Sunday as he notched a goal on three shots in the team’s loss. With seven goals and 14 assists through 25 playoff games, his 21 points are tied with Brett Hull, Doug Gilmour and Bernie Federko for the most by a Blues player in one postseason.

Meanwhile, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has 15 assists and 17 points in the playoffs, which are the most by a St. Louis player at his position. He tied Federko for the Blues assist record in one postseason and has also added two goals during the team’s run.

Zdeno Chara to close out postseason for the ages

On the opposite bench, Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara is gearing up to play his 14th Game 7 to pass Patrick Roy and Scott Stevens for most in NHL history. 

The 42-year-old captain, surprisingly active Sunday despite suffering a broken jaw in Game 4 last Monday when he was struck in the face with a puck, set another record with his empty-net goal in the third period to become the oldest defenseman to score a goal in Stanley Cup Final history.

How important is home ice?

In the Stanley Cup Final, history shows it’s pretty significant.  According to ESPN , home teams are 12-4 all-time in Game 7 of the championship series. However, home teams have lost the last two such games. The Canucks most recently fell to Bruins in 2011, while the Red Wings were defeated by the Penguins in 2009.

The Blues have won twice at TD Garden this series, but still need one more victory to seal the deal. The Bruins won’t make it easy, though, as the team is set to host a deciding game of championship round for the first time in its 95-year history.