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Stanley Cup Final

Blues will play Bruins in Stanley Cup Final

St. Louis eliminated Sharks in six games; Boston swept Hurricanes

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

The St. Louis Blues will play the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Blues advanced to the Cup Final for the first time since 1970 with a 5-1 win against the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on Tuesday.

"It's just unbelievable where we were the beginning of the year to where we are now," St. Louis forward Patrick Maroon said. "This team is relentless and will continue to be relentless."

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final will be at Boston on Monday. The Bruins swept the Blues in the 1970 Cup Final.

Boston, which had 107 points to finish second in the Atlantic Division, has home-ice advantage against St. Louis, which had 99 points to finish third in the Central Division. The Blues were last in the NHL standings on Jan. 3.

"After having the start we did, it's amazing how we've been able to come back and now compete for a Stanley Cup," Blues forward Ryan O'Reilly said. "I can't really describe how excited I am."

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Boston defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 in Game 4 on May 16 to sweep the Eastern Conference Final and advance to the Cup Final for the first time since 2013, when it lost to Chicago Blackhawks in six games. The Bruins last won the Cup in 2011, defeating the Vancouver Canucks in seven games.

"It's awesome," Boston goalie Tuukka Rask said. "We've played great so far. It's not easy to make it this far, so super proud of the guys that we're here."

The Blues this postseason defeated the Winnipeg Jets in six games in the first round and the Dallas Stars in seven games in the second round before winning the last three games against the Sharks, outscoring them 12-2.

The Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games in the first round and the Columbus Blue Jackets in six games in the second round. Boston will have had 10 days off before starting the Cup Final.

"We need to use [the time off] the right way," Boston forward Patrice Bergeron said last week. "Obviously, healing the body, it's a lot of hockey, and we all know playoff hockey is a grind. A lot of work in front of us."

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The Blues were 1-1-0 against the Bruins this season, losing 5-2 at Boston on Jan. 17 and winning 2-1 in a shootout at home on Feb. 23. Eight Blues had one point each, including goals by O'Reilly, Alexander Steen and Carl Gunnarsson. Jordan Binnington made 31 saves in the shootout win, and Jake Allen allowed four goals on 26 shots in the loss.

Chris Wagner had two goals and an assist, David Krejci had three assists, and Torey Krug had a goal and an assist for Boston. Rask started each game and allowed three goals on 59 shots (1.44 goals-against average, .949 save percentage).

"It's going to be a tough challenge. That's a very good hockey team over there. They've played very well," O'Reilly said. "They just swept the Hurricanes, which is extremely tough to do. It's going to be tough, but we're a great team and I have confidence that we can do this."

Binnington made his fist start of the season Jan. 7 and went 24-5-1 in the regular season. His 12 Stanley Cup Playoff wins are a Blues record.

"I think the big one was having [Binnington] come in," O'Reilly said. "He brought some swagger to us, he won some games by himself. That gave us some confidence. Once we started to feel good about ourselves, we just really came together, and he was a big reason, sparking us like he did."

 

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Bruins forward David Backes played his first 727 NHL games for the Blues before he signed with Boston as a free agent prior to the 2016-17 season.

"It would be a lot of emotion, no question," Backes said. "It's a place that's near and dear to my heart, still got a lot of friends on that team, wish them the best, but I'm more concentrated on the Boston Bruins winning a Stanley Cup."

The Bruins are 2-0 in playoff series against the Blues; they also swept them in the NHL semifinals in 1972.

"They have a hard team, a hard team to play against, a really skilled team," St. Louis forward Vladimir Tarasenko said. "We have a hard team too. It's going to be interesting games. I always told you we were going for the Cup. Just have a couple days to recharge and go for more games."

St. Louis was swept in the Stanley Cup Final in its first three seasons after joining the NHL as part of the 1967-68 expansion. Boston has won the Stanley Cup six times (1929, 1939, 1941, 1970, 1972, 2011).

"We've earned the right to be where we are, to go to the Stanley Cup Final," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. "We've beaten three good teams. There is some unfinished business, so that's part of the emotion you want to keep in check. You want to enjoy it, but I think our guys understand there are still four more steps to take."

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