ST. LOUIS - Game 7.
One game to determine which team moves onto the next round and which team goes home for the summer.
These are the moments that players, coaches and fans live for, but they don’t come around all that often.
Monday’s Game 7 between the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks will be just the third Game 7 ever played at Scottrade Center. The last one was in 2000 against the San Jose Sharks, and the one before that was in 1995 against the Vancouver Canucks.
In fact, the Blues have played only 14 Game 7s in the nearly 50-year history of the franchise.
It’s a safe bet that Scottrade Center will be rockin’ come Monday.
“I know a lot about Game 7s,” said Blues forward Troy Brouwer, who has played in one in six consecutive seasons. “How fun they are, the intensity they bring, how it brings out everybody’s best game on both sides. They’re fun to play in and fun to watch.”
The Blues had to battle all season to grab home ice for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and is that ever important right now.
“We got Game 7 at home. It’s the best-case scenario we could have hoped for,” said Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. “That’s what we’ve earned, and we’re going to keep it. We worked hard all year to get to this, and we’ve got an opportunity in front of us. I really want to see us take advantage of it.”
Only seven Blues have played in a Game 7 in their careers. Brouwer leads the way with six, Scottie Upshall has appeared in two and Stastny, Kyle Brodziak, Carl Gunnarsson, Steve Ott and Robert Bortuzzo have all appeared in one.
“If you get that Game 7 win at home, then (home-ice advantage) does matter,” Blues forward Paul Stastny said. “We just feed off the crowd. If there’s a lapse in our game and the crowd gets behind us, that’s what we need.
“We have a different feeling in here. Within the locker room we have a belief. We know what we’ve got to do. We’re excited for the opportunity and we’ll be ready.”
So who will be the hero on Monday?
“You’re going to see some great efforts tomorrow night,” Brouwer said. “You’re going to see some guys that get known for Game 7. We’re excited to see who those players will emerge as, and hopefully it’s everybody.
“We want to be the champions, and it starts tomorrow night.”