The St. Louis Blues clinched the Stanley Cup Playoffs last night with their 100th point and a win of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
NHL.com posted the keys to the Blues success, from coaching to special teams, and everything in between. While thereâ€™s no sign of slowing down, if they run the bracket with what they have, will it work to claim a first ever Stanley Cup for the Blues?
But to truly understand how great last yearâ€™s Stanley Cup champions were, the Boston Bruins, letâ€™s take a comparative look:
Boston Bruins 2010-11: 20th, 16.2 percent, 43 PPG; St. Louis Blues 2011-12: 15th, 17.1 percent, 41 PPG.
Boston Bruins 2010-11: 16th, 82.6 percent, 46 PPGA; St. Louis Blues 2011-12: 7th, 85 percent, 37 SHGA.
Boston Bruins 2010-11: Claude Julien: 46-25-11; 103 points; .628 win percentage; St. Louis Blues 2011-12: Ken Hitchcock: 40-12-8; 88 points; .733 win percentage.
Boston Bruins 2010-11: Tim Thomas 25-11-9; 2.00 GAA; .938 save percentage; Tuukka Rask: 11-14-2; 2.67 GAA; .918 save percentage; St. Louis Blues 2011-12: 21-9-2; 1.62 GAA; .937 save percentage; Jaroslav Halak: 25-10-6; 1.85 GAA; .929 save percentage.
Boston Bruins 2010-11: Goals for: 246; Goals Against: 195; St. Louis Blues 2011-12: Goals for: 189; Goals against: 142
Thatâ€™s just the surface of comparisons between the Blues and Bruins. And, as a note, these numbers reflect just Bostonâ€™s regular season and the Bluesâ€™ season to date this year. But, overall, the Blues are a strict defense team with a solid goals against rating and a tandem better than Bostonâ€™s last year, despite the stellar campaign from Thomas. (As we saw Rask have a rough season.)
Is Hitchcockâ€™s comeback year to the bench on route to a Stanley Cup?
Matthew Wilson is editor of Center Ice Chat. Follow him on Twitter @Mattjw24. Be sure to also Like us on Facebook and to Follow our Tumblr page. If you'd like to contribute, or appear as a guest columnist, please email us at CenterIceChat@gmail.com.