The St. Louis Blues are moving on to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1970, where they will attempt to win the team’s first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
The Blues, who beat the Sharks 5-1 in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday night, are set to face the Boston Bruins. Boston defeated St. Louis in that 1970 encounter and will try to continue their city’s extraordinary run of championship success.
The Stanley Cup finals, a seven-game series, begin Monday.
“Wow. That’s what you play for, as a hockey player, to have a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup,” St. Louis center Brayden Schenn said after the Game 6 win at home. “Three rounds down and one to go, so we’re looking forward to playing Boston. They’re a good team and, you know, we’ll enjoy this one tonight.”
The Blues not only overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Sharks in the conference finals — including a controversial Game 3 loss — they climbed all the way up from last place in the league as the calendar year began.
St. Louis took off with 25-year-old rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington, who got his first career start on Jan. 7 and proceeded to go 24-5. This playoffs, the Blues have seen center Jaden Schwartz score 12 goals — more than he scored during the regular season. Pat Maroon, a St. Louis native who plays for the Blues, has garnered headlines, as has the team’s victory song.
“This is unbelievable. The city’s been waiting for this for so many years now, and it’s a privilege to put this jersey on and do it in front of this crowd,” Maroon said after Tuesday’s game. “Four more wins — we’ve just got to continue what we’re doing.”
On Tuesday, St. Louis’s goals were tallied by David Perron, who scored just 1:32 into the game, Vladimir Tarasenko, Schenn, Tyler Bozak and Ivan Barbashev, who completed the scoring with an empty-netter late in the third period. At that point, delirious Blues fans were chanting, “We want the Cup! We want the Cup!”
“I think everyone on the bench had chills, and it was a great moment," St. Louis forward Sammy Blais said of hearing the raucous crowd.
After the game, Blues players posed with the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl, a trophy given to the Western Conference playoff champions, but in keeping with hockey tradition, they were careful not to touch it.
St. Louis will now meet the well-rested Bruins, who swept the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference finals and will have had 11 days off when the finals begin.
Boston, which has been led this postseason by goalie Tuukka Rask, enters the Cup finals in the midst of the remarkable run of sports success for the city. While the Celtics’ ouster from the NBA playoffs ended hopes of a “Boston Slam” — winning consecutive titles in the four most prominent sports leagues — the Bruins can follow directly in the championship footsteps of the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots. A Cup triumph would give Boston its 13th NHL, NFL, NBA or MLB title since the turn of the century.
The Bruins last won the Cup in 2011. Among the six Stanley Cups in their 95-year history was the aforementioned win over the Blues, a four-game sweep immortalized by Bobby Orr’s celebratory dive past the St. Louis net after his overtime goal sealed the championship.