The 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs have reached the final four, and the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues enter the conference finals as the co-favorites to hoist Lord Stanley.
Both Boston and St. Louis' odds are set at +200 (wager $100 to win $200), though the San Jose Sharks (+275) and the Carolina Hurricanes (+400) are not far behind:
After finishing tied for the second-most points (107) in the NHL during the regular season, Boston has been tested in each of the first two rounds. The Toronto Maple Leafs held a 3-2 series lead over the Bruins in their first-round matchup before falling in seven games. The Columbus Blue Jackets won two of the first three games of their second-round series before Boston ran off three straight victories.
On the other side, Carolina is arguably the hottest team in the playoffs. After dropping the first two games to the Metropolitan Division champion Washington Capitals in the first round, the Hurricanes have won eight of their past nine games to reach the Eastern Conference Final. That includes a sweep of the New York Islanders in the second round.
Boston won two of the teams' three regular-season meetings, with one of the games needing overtime to be decided.
Out West, both St. Louis and San Jose have been involved in hard-fought series throughout the postseason.
The Blues needed six games to knock off the Winnipeg Jets in the first round, and their second-round series against the Dallas Stars went the distance—and then some. Game 7 went to double overtime before Patrick Maroon ended the series.
Meanwhile, each of the Sharks' first two series required seven games. Both the Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche proved to be formidable foes, but San Jose found ways to survive and advance.
Of note, Boston (2011) is the only one of the four remaining clubs to have won the Stanley Cup this decade. The Bruins also made it to the championship round in 2013, and the Sharks did so in 2016.
Carolina's most recent Final appearance and championship came in 2006. Neither the Blues nor the Sharks have ever hoisted the Cup.