BOSTON -- David Perron stood on the ice after the St. Louis Blues defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on Wednesday with a smile that reached from ear-to-ear.
With the Blues for a third time, and one season removed from playing in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final on the losing side with the Vegas Golden Knights, Perron was a first-time Stanley Cup champion.
"It's such a special feeling," the 31-year-old said. "Nothing comparable. I think for me personally, to go back for a second [straight] year and finding a way to win, coming back to the Blues three times, it's unreal.
"I always believed in what the team was about. I always believed in what [Blues general manager Doug Armstrong] was trying to accomplish with the club. For me, to play in the Cup Final last year and not winning it (against the Washington Capitals) and doing it this year, I think it's that much more special. When you put in all this time all these years, all the work, 12 years later, you find a way. This group is very easy, we're relentless."
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Perron was a first-round pick (No. 26) by the Blues in the 2007 NHL Draft. He was traded to the Edmonton Oilers on July 10, 2013 after six seasons with the Blues, then played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim Ducks before returning to the Blues as a free agent on July 1, 2016, signing a two-year, $7.5 million contract.
Perron then was selected in the NHL Expansion Draft by the Golden Knights on June 21, 2017 before returning to the Blues by signing a four-year, $16 million contract on July 1, 2018 and helping them win the Stanley Cup for the first time in their 51-season history.
"[St. Louis] is a good family town," Perron said. "It's obviously a city that was begging to win a Cup for all these years. I wanted to be a part of it. They gave me my first chance to play in the NHL. I think for me, that was about the only place I really wanted to win. Every place you go play, you want to win, but for a city that gave you a chance, I played eight years out of 12 in St. Louis, and I plan to play many more here."
Video: Perron on Blues' unbelievable season turnaround
"They invested a lot in me, I put in a lot of work with them to try and make it work," Perron said. "You see this celebration, it's pretty cool. This is what it's all about. You put in all your time your whole life. ... To get rewarded in the end is huge."
Perron had 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 26 Stanley Cup Playoff games after 46 points (23 goals, 23 assists) in 57 regular-season games this season. He has scored at least 20 goals in three of his eight seasons with St. Louis.
When the Blues were laboring at the bottom of the NHL standings at the turn of the new year, Perron expressed confidence in the team. His patience was rewarded.
An impressive second half resulted in a third-place finish in the Central Division, and the Blues went on to eliminate the Winnipeg Jets, Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks in the postseason before defeating the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.
"I believed it, because I saw what happened the year before," Perron said. "No team is perfect, and you've got to find ways. We showed what we did (in Game 7) like we have in all the playoffs. From the series in Winnipeg, we're down 2-0 [in the third period of Game 5] and we found a way to win that game. It happened all playoffs, different guys stepping up at different times. That's why this group is so special. All series we believed we could do this."