Glorious! Blues march to Stanley Cup finals after 49 years of absence | St. Louis Blues


Paste the touches to Glenn Hall and the Plager brothers, Jimmy Roberts and Ron Schock. To Red Berenson and Noel Picard. Al Arbor, Terry Crisp, Jacques Plante: the whole team since childhood hockey St. Louis Blues.

They laid the foundations and electrified this city half a century ago with the appearances in the Stanley Cup finals in each of the team's first three years of existence. Fellas, now you have company.

For the first time since 1970, the Blues return to the Cup final. This city of fans of toasted blues flavored with ravioli, who eat beef, who consume Bud is once again electrified.

The Blues, yes, the Blues, are playing for the Cup, winning the Western Conference finals four games to two with a 5-1 victory on Tuesday over the San Jose Sharks at the Enterprise Center.

"I still do not understand," said Vladimir Tarasenko, whose power goal at the end of the first period counts as the winner of the game. "Obviously it is a big problem for us to get what we received, the feeling is that we are not finished yet.

"Really proud of the team how far we go, but there is still one more opponent to beat, it feels incredible, I'm not going to lie."

The last time the Blues reached the Cup final in 1970, they faced off against Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins. Almost half a century later, they are back in the Cup and playing … Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask and the Boston Bruins in the Cup finals.

Game 1 is Monday in Boston.

Killed last in the 31-team NHL on January 2, the Blues need four victories against Boston to complete their unlikely journey from worst to first.

"I always thought this was possible when I looked at this group," said Ryan O & # 39; Reilly, the unofficial MVP of the team's regular season who had three badists on Tuesday. "But having the fights we had earlier in the year and then getting together to be here now, it's amazing that we have the chance to win a Stanley Cup now."

They do. The Blues have never won a Stanley Cup. In fact, they have never won a Stanley Cup game, being swept by the Montreal Canadiens in 1968 and '69, and the Bruins in 1970. But as the clock wore on Enterprise, and the crowd kept singing " We want the Cup! We want the Cup! "Everything seemed possible.

"Going through what we've been through this year is not easy," said Alex Pietrangelo, who with an badist on Tuesday set a Blues record for most postseason defense points (13). "I'm sure that people questioned me (as captain) and questioned the group.

"Sometimes you ask yourself, but sometimes you have to lean on the people around you, they were just supportive, and when you have a group as close as ours, difficult times are difficult, but you can have those conversations. hard and honest between us and we did it when things were not going well ".

Things went well on Tuesday. With one rare exception, the Blues were in control of a San Jose team that missed three main pillars: Erik Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl.

The team that scored for the first time won every game in this series, and on Tuesday it was David Perron with a shot by Sammy Blais with only 92 seconds left.

"I've never played in an atmosphere like that," Blais said. "I think it was amazing at the end when they sang," We want the Cup! "Everyone in the bank felt chills and it was a great moment."

Tarasenko's goal gave the Blues' revived power play unit a goal in the last four games of this series, and gave the Blues a 2-0 lead.

But Dylan Gambrell made the Blues sweat for a while when he got behind the St. Louis defense for a mini-break and beat Jordan Binnington with a high wrestler at the 6:40 mark of the second period to cut the lead. to 2-1. .

Gambrell, whose resume includes only 11 regular-season NHL games, was in the lineup only because of Pavelski and Hertl's injuries.

Brayden Schenn restored order for the home team six minutes later, when he picked up a rebound from the Sharks' goalkeeper Martin Jones and scored his second goal of this postseason. The two-goal lead restored, it was only a matter of time before the Blues could see all the way to Boston.

The Sharks beat the Blues by 10-0 in the first 12 and a half minutes of the third period, but then came Tyler Bozak's goals and one empty goal for Ivan Barbashev. One night that began with warnings of tornadoes echoing in the sand ended with … what else? – "Gloria."

Former students on hand, like Brett Hull and Kelly Chase, fought against tears. With their new Western Conference championship hats in place, the Blues posed in the center of the ice with the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl, which is handed over to the champion of the West. But none of them touched it, that's bad luck.

Who would have thought that this was possible?

Just one year after being an outcast from the organization in Providence, the AHL team of the Boston Bruins, Binnington was asked if he ever imagined he would be in this place a year later.

"I would not have put money on that," he said.

Six months ago, when the interim non-interim coach Craig Berube took charge of what looked like a sinking ship, he would not have put money in an appearance in the Stanley Cup either.

"No," said Berube. "We were trying to get on the right track then, once we got going in January and February, I knew we had a good hockey team, we got into the playoffs and everything can happen … Credit to our players. and they thought they were going to make the playoffs and we did, and now we're here. "

Here, but as Bobby Plager recalled, there is work to be done.

"Four more victories, boys," he told reporters.

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