SportsPulse: There was a bit of controversy, but the Blues got it done in Boston and are now one win away from the first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history.
ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Blues players are trying not to think about how they have a chance tonight to win the first Stanley Cup in the franchise’s 52-year history.
But it is hard not to.
“It’s incredible how many amazing teams that have been here and haven’t won,” Blues center Ryan O’Reilly said. “Looking at it now having that opportunity, seeing this group in here, seeing the city behind it. It’s amazing.”
The Blues lead 3-2 in the best-of-seven NHL championship series going into tonight’s Game 6 at the Enterprise Center (8 p.m., ET, NBC). Injured Blues forward Robert Thomas might be ready to play. It will be a game-time decision. Blues forward Ivan Barbashev will miss Game 6 with an NHL-imposed one game suspension for a high hit against Boston’s Marcus Johansson in Game 5.
Before this playoff run, the Blues had not even been to the Stanley Cup Final since 1970. What makes the Blues’ playoff run more improbable is that they were in last place out 31 NHL teams on Jan. 2.
“It’s tough to put into words,” O’Reilly said. “Just running into random people around the city and how excited they are. Season ticket-holders for thirty-plus years. Their excitement. It’s so much more beyond the (players).”
The city of St. Louis has become enthralled with the Blues’ chase of the Cup. Many former Blues players have come in for playoff games. Actors Jon Hamms, from St. Louis, has attended games, along with St. Louis native actor Scott Bakula actress and Jenna Fischer, who grew up in St. Louis.
One St. Louis fan, Scott Berry, can win $100,000 if the Blues win the Stanley Cup because he placed a $400 bet in Las Vegas when the Blues were a 250-1 shot to win the Cup last January.
If the Blues win, they will become the third first-time Stanley Cup champion since 2012. The Los Angeles Kings, who entered the NHL the same year as the Blues, won their first Cup in 2012 and the Washington Capitals, who entered the NHL in 1974, won their first Cup last June.
The NHL’s longest Stanley Cup drought is owned by the Toronto Maple Leafs who haven’t won the Cup since 1966-67, the season before the Blues joined the NHL.