The Enterprise Center was rocking for game six of the Stanley Cup finals, fans gathered by the tens of thousands to witness something long overdue. Except, that never happened, at least not that night. The St. Louis Blues did a lot of things right, except score enough, and simply accepted the fact there would be a game seven.
Sure, Boston has taken most of the Blues sails and put applied it to their own narrative, but the Blues still have a legitimate chance of winning their first-ever Cup. Some fans around the nation were probably ready to write the Blues in for six, having won game four at home and game five on the road. Boston had other plans, and now the Blues have to try and get this done in a hostile environment.
A brief recap of game six..
With the Cup in the building, the Blues had a chance to clinch it on home ice. An early pair of penalties put a lot of pressure on their defense and Jordan Binnington, all of whom stood no chance in trying to stop a bullet from Brad Marchand. Then, things got better aesthetically, even though the results stayed the same.
A big reason St. Louis had won the past couple games was due to shutting down the deadly Bruins power play. Binnington had been stellar with Boston generating several opportunities but coming up empty. In game six, it was the Bruins and Tuukka Rask that was the silencer despite St. Louis getting four chances. Rask and the Bruins played out of their minds, the Blues defense collapsed and made Binnington look just average.
Finally, down by three goals midway through the third period, the Blues managed to end the shutout bid. It was none other than O-O-O’Reilllllly Auto Goals (Ryan O’Reilly) who scored for the Blues, tallying his fourth goal over the past three games.
Teams hate to hear this, but from a viewer’s perspective, it looked the Blues had accepted their fate late in the third period. They simply didn’t put forth as much energy as they had earlier and Boston still had their foot on the pedal and it was Binnington who suffered. A 3-1 loss looks a lot better than a 5-1 loss, even with one of those goals coming on an empty net.
Back to Boston..
Remarkably enough, St. Louis has been a better team on the road as there really hasn’t been much home-ice advantage during the finals. They won game two with an overtime goal, tying the series 1-1 and edged out Boston 2-1 in game five to own the 3-2 series lead. Looking back more expansively at the playoffs, the Blues are 7-2 on the road entering the finals. If they keep that trend up, they’ll spoil the party in Boston and bring home a new piece of hardware.
Binnington needs to play one of his best, if not the best game of his career. The Blues defense needs to help him out by limiting the number of quality chances Boston gets, and not turn the puck over as much. If they do that, shut down possible power play chances and win the physical battle, they will win the Cup.
Regardless of the outcome, this is it. There is no “next game” this season for a Blues team that’s had a roller coaster of a year and has the potential to win Coach of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards. This is Do or Die. This is game seven. All the marbles, for the hardest piece of hardware to achieve in the sport, one that’s eluded the Blues since they’ve been established.