The Boston Bruins now have a 77.2 percent chance of winning the Stanley Cup. At least, that’s what history says.
While I’m certainly not ready to proclaim doom for the St. Louis Blues in this Stanley Cup Final, the fact that they blew a two-goal lead and lost Game 1 Monday night certainly didn’t help their odds. Since the NHL went to a best-of-seven format in the Finals, starting in 1939, teams that have won Game 1 have gone on to win the Cup 61 of 79 times (77.2 percent).
Capitals Overcame Cup Final Deficit in 2018
But the Blues – and any Stanley Cup betting enthusiasts who put money on them – can at least take comfort in the fact that the last time a team lost Game 1 and won the Cup happened just last year. Washington lost Game 1 in Las Vegas to the Golden Knights but won the next four games for their first Cup. Like the Caps of last year, the Blues have yet to win a Cup in their history, which dates to 1967.
You have to go all the way back to 2011 for the previous time a team lost Game 1 and won the Cup; the team that did it was ... the Boston Bruins. The Vancouver Canucks had home-ice advantage to start the series and won Game 1 on a late Raffi Torres goal. But the Bruins won four of the next six games, including Game 7 in Vancouver.
In 2009, Pittsburgh lost the first two games to Detroit, but went on to win in seven. In 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning lost Game 1 to Calgary, but went on to win in seven games. In 2002, Detroit lost Game 1 to Carolina, but won the next four.
More discouraging statistics for Blues fans, and vice-versa for Boston fans: St. Louis is 6-24 in best-of-seven series in which it lost a Game 1 (however, one of those six came in their last round, in the Western finals against San Jose).
Boston, meanwhile, is 37-17 all-time in best-of-seven series after winning Game 1.
Bruins Dominate Late in Game 1
I still think this will be a lengthy series, but I admit that Boston’s dominance in the final two periods of Game 1 have me rethinking the Blues’ overall chances of winning the Cup. A team that wants to win a Stanley Cup just can’t be outshot 18-3 in a period, like the Blues were in the second period Monday.
The Blues were outshot only a combined 20-17 in the other two periods. But even in the third, it was starting to feel like a victory for the Blues just to gain possession of the puck for a few seconds.
The game was right there to steal for the Blues, who were up 2-0 in the second period. Hold on to win, and history would have all been on their side. But they didn’t, and now the NHL odds are certainly stacked against them.
The Bruins are now -305 in NHL betting to win the Cup at 888Sport in New Jersey, with the Blues at +240 .