The Bruins prevented the Blues from hoisting the Stanley Cup at home when they beat St. Louis 5-1 in Game 6 Sunday, tying the series at three games apiece. The seventh and final game of the series will be played Wednesday at TD Garden in Boston, giving the Bruins home ice advantage in one last do-or-die game.
On Sunday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch accidentally posted congratulatory messages to the Blues for winning the Stanley Cup on the e-edition of the newspaper.
Here is what St. Louis media is saying on Sunday after the Bruins sent the Cup Final to Game 7:
Benjamin Hochman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “It could have been the greatest sports moment this city has seen… Instead, on the cusp of the Cup, the Blues couldn’t rise to the moment. This is a painful sentence to type and surely to read: The Blues hosted Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final with the Stanley Cup in the building – and lost.”
Hochman emphasizes that the Bruins beat St. Louis in Game 6 by playing the way the Blues do at their best – hitting hard, suffocating an opponent in their own end via the forecheck and creating turnovers. He describes the team’s play as “uncharacteristic” Sunday. The softer forecheck and Jordan Binnington allowing Brandon Carlo a goal after that funny bounce as the main culprits.
He also pays tribute to Tuukka Rask – who made 28 saves on 29 shots against Sunday – and wonders whether even the Blues’ best will be enough to find a fourth and final win against Rask, the playoffs’ best goalie.
Either way, Hochman looks forward to the first Game 7 in the Cup Final since 2011.
“You’ve heard this before – it’s going to be the biggest game in St. Louis hockey history,” Hochman writes. “Some team is going to meet Stanley.”
Jeremy Rutherford, The Athletic: “This was not what the 18,890 inside Enterprise Center and the tens of thousands outside were expecting to see on a night when history was to be made.”
Rutherford, The Athletic‘s Blues reporter, details the scene around St. Louis as thousands of fans excitedly gathered inside and outside Enterprise Center to celebrate what could have been the Blues’ first Stanley Cup victory.
Fans gathered downtown hours and hours before the arena opened its doors for Game 6. Longtime national anthem singer Charles Glenn performed for the last time before retiring. All seemed right in St. Louis for a historic party until the Bruins took a first-period lead and refused to relinquish it, raining four more goals in the third, denying St. Louis even a chance they would celebrate a Cup win Sunday.
Rutherford notes that the remaining Blues fans did chant “Let’s go Blues” as time expired, a loyal following wishing them luck in Game 7 even at the end of a disappointing loss. Beyond that, there is a reason for St. Louis to remain hopeful – the Blues are 9-3 on the road this postseason. They have already won two games at TD Garden this series.
“Perhaps this is the way the script is supposed to play out,” Rutherford writes. “In a year in which they were last in the standings on Jan. 3, and battled their way into the Stanley Cup final, no one thought this was going to come easy.”
Jeff Gordon, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Once again [the Blues] will be underdogs. Once again the experts will count them out. Once again they must dig down and elevate their play. Can they do it one more time when you least expect it?”
Gordon’s Monday article displays largely the same thought process: the Blues scraped their way into the playoffs from the bottom of the NHL’s standings. St. Louis played their second-round series against the Dallas Stars to Game 7 and lost two of the first three games in the Western Conference final. To Blues fans familiar with the franchise’s 50 years of pain, Gordon writes, a loss in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final only makes sense.
Gordon lays the fault of the Blues’ loss at the feet of special teams play. St. Louis received four power plays in Game 6 and could not convert while allowing the Bruins a powerplay goal, but the difference was made when the Bruins did score at even strength and the Blues could not match.
Gordon notes, as many in St. Louis are Monday, that the Blues possess a strong road record, but nobody in the city would have preferred they fly back to Boston for a winner-takes-all Game 7.