I didn't think, or want, the St. Louis Blues to win the Stanley Cup. When they were up 3 games to 2 with game 6 being played in St. Louis, I thought they had a decent chance, but after losing game 6 and then having to play game 7 on the road, I figured Boston would rise to the occasion. I thought they jinxed themselves when they leaked out a message thanking fans and announcing they were champions before game 6 even started. Just a few months ago back in January, the Blues owned the worst record in the NHL. Not surprisingly, they were 250-1 to win the Cup at that point. One lucky Blues fan put $400 on those odds, and now he is $100,000 richer. Las Vegas, already looking ahead to next year, has the Tampa Bay Lightning as the early favorites at 5-1.
They owned this year's regular season best record, but got swept in the first round. To me, that sweep was just as improbable as the the Blues going from worst to first. St. Louis is 10-1, and Vegas is the 2nd favored team at 9-1. It's hard to tell this early who win win next year. I think Tampa will at least make a deep run in the playoffs. They remind me of Virginia basketball. Virginia was the top seeded team entering the NCAA tournament two years ago, and became the first ever #1 seed to fall to a #16 seed, but bounced back the next year as a #1 seed again and winning the championship. I see Tampa Bay having a similar fate next year. They will be hungry, embarrassed, and playing with something to prove. They also won't be taking any teams for granted. The Conn Smythe, or NHL's MVP for the playoffs, went to Ryan O'Reilly for scoring 23 points in the post-season, which is the most ever for a Blues player.
I thought it should have went to their rookie goalie Billington, but I guess it can't always go to the goalie. Boston out-shot St. Louis 12-4 in the first but still found themselves trailing 2-0 after that period, and they stuck around, but never really got momentum going. Too bad for the Bruins, who could have joined the Patriots and Red Sox as the other two Boston teams to win championships this year, but that's sports. It will be tough to swallow, but they will be contenders next year; Vegas has them 4th at 12-1 for 2020.