BOSTON - Craig Berube was asked about his team's effort and resiliency when he arrived in Boston on Tuesday afternoon ahead of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. Was there a moment this season, the reporter asked, where he could sense the team had put their early season struggles behind them and were capable of something more?
"Well, I think what they had to go through to get into the Playoffs really showed that for me," Berube answered.
The Blues did overcome a lot to get here. After finding themselves in last place in the League on Jan. 2, the club stormed all the way back and went 30-10-5 in 2019, picking up 65 points - the most in the NHL in that span. They became just the seventh team in the NHL's expansion era to make the playoffs after ranking last in the League some time after New Year's Day. The Blues finished the regular season in third place in the Central Division and even had a chance to win the division in the season's final days.
But the regular season is one thing. The Stanley Cup Playoffs, Berube said, are an entirely different animal.
When was it in the playoffs that Berube knew his Blues were for real?
"Game 5 in Winnipeg showed that (to me)," Berube said. "That showed me that we were here to stay for a little bit."
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In that game, the Blues trailed 2-0 entering the third period at Bell MTS Centre in Winnipeg. Ryan O'Reilly scored 1:29 into the third period to cut the lead in half before Brayden Schenn tied the game at 13:52. Then, it was Jaden Schwartz who scored with 15 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Blues a 3-2 win in the game and a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven first-round series.
That momentum has carried the Blues to this moment - two wins away from what could be the first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history.
"I think so far, each and every series, we've gotten better as the series was going on," said David Perron. "We're certainly looking to do the same thing. We have to have our foot on the gas from now on. It's a best-of-three. Again, I think (Thursday) is another opportunity to be doing that. We're going to be looking to be the team that gets the next win."