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Blues, Bruins Cup Final rematch will be 'emotional game,' Berube says

St. Louis coach, players embracing championship memories, Boston focused on two points

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / Staff Writer

BOSTON -- The St. Louis Blues are embracing it. The Boston Bruins are trying to forget it.

It was four months ago when the Blues and Bruins were last in Boston at the same time, the Blues skating around the TD Garden ice, raising the Stanley Cup, the Bruins leaving for their dressing room, eyes wet and red-rimmed. 

Much has changed around the NHL in the intervening time, but the two combatants in last season's Stanley Cup Final returned in 2019-20 largely unchanged, which will make their game in Boston on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV) seem like a reunion of sorts.

"I think it's going to be an emotional game for both teams, to be honest with you," Blues coach Craig Berube said. 

It was easy for him to say. His team won the Stanley Cup. The other side, meanwhile, had a different take. 

"It's just another game," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. "It doesn't change anything that's happened in the past. You're not going to get any retribution by winning the game tomorrow. At the end of the day, it's two points. 

"I'm sure the fans are excited. I think it'll mean more to them than it will to us."

The Bruins have been back in TD Garden, for preseason games, for regular-season games. They have seen their dressing room redone, their family area moved, new construction and new spaces all around them. The Blues haven't.

Their memories are fresh, and likely will be for the rest of their lives. 

So yes, it's a little easier for them to look forward to the matchup.

"We all know about the next game," Blues forward Ivan Barbashev said Thursday. "It's going to be a real emotional game. It's going to be a heavy game. I can't wait for it [and] we're looking good right now."

The Blues (5-2-3) will be without forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who will not play against Boston or the Detroit Red Wings this weekend, having sustained an upper-body injury during St. Louis' 5-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

That, at least, should help the Bruins, who kept up the refrain that they're focused only on the two points that are at stake, the way a win or loss could affect this season. 

"The memories are obviously there," Marchand said. "But you're not going to change anything that's happened."

This stretch has not been easy for the Bruins (6-1-2). Their past three games have been against Atlantic Division opponents, with one against the Tampa Bay Lightning and two against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bruins got four of a possible six points. But the Blues are different; they represent what could have been. 

"It's a new season," Bruins forward Charlie Coyle said. "So that's where I'm keeping my head. New season. You remember things. You obviously remember. That stuff doesn't go away too much."

But though most of the Bruins brushed off the idea of there being anything extra in facing the Blues, one was willing to admit it wasn't just another team coming into their building. 

"There's definitely going to be emotion there for both sides," Jake DeBrusk said. "I feel like it's going to be a pretty intense game. I haven't really thought too, too much about it. It's one of those things where I guess we'll find out."

Not that he's over what happened back on June 12, in Game 7. 

"I feel like it's pretty fresh," DeBrusk said. "Past it would probably be not fair to say, but in saying that, it's one of those things where it's going to be a little bit tougher when you're playing the team that just beat you at home. That kind of brings it up."

That, and a hard hit or two, and it could all come flooding back. 

"Maybe some of the matchup rivalries that we had," defenseman Torey Krug said. "I think just little things like that carry over. Maybe a guy that you have a little more distaste for than some other guys out there. But once we get out there, it's just try to win the hockey game."

That will be the goal for both sides. Get the points. Don't let the 2018-19 season infringe too much on 2019-20, whether the memories are good or bad. Of course, that's easy to say and might be harder to put into practice once the players are lining up against each other on the ice Saturday.

"I'm sure they're not going to like us too much in that building, but obviously for this group in this locker room, a lot of great memories," Blues forward Brayden Schenn said. "Playing the Stanley Cup Final there, having the celebration in the locker room, all that's behind us now. We're looking forward to going there. I'm sure it's going to be a tough game because I'm sure they're not happy."


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