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Stanley Cup Final

Blues veterans grateful for second chance in Game 7 of Stanley Cup Final

Maroon, Bouwmeester don't want opportunity to win first championship to slip away against Bruins

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Pat Maroon is a St. Louis native and loves playing at home. Jay Bouwmeester said he feels like one, having played the past seven seasons there.

The chance to hoist the Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues is one they don't want to let slip away. They'll be presented that opportunity with a win against the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"This is what you dream about since I was a kid playing in the basement with my brothers, pretending to help the Blues go all the way," Maroon said Tuesday. "I've waited my entire life for this."

 

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Bouwmeester has waited his entire career for this moment. Patrick Marleau (1,657) and Joe Thornton (1,566) are the only active players who have played more NHL games than the 35-year-old defenseman (1,184) without winning the Cup.

Wednesday provides a second chance for Maroon, Bouwmeester and the rest of the Blues to win this best-of-7 series; they lost 5-1 to the Bruins in Game 6 at Enterprise Center on Sunday.

But that did not dampen the spirits of either player, who are cherishing another opportunity to win the Cup in Game 7. Maroon, for one, still marvels at how far St. Louis has come from being last in the NHL standings on Jan. 3.

Video: Blues discuss playing Game 7 of the SCF in Boston

"This is exciting times," he said. "Obviously last game was not what we wanted, but we're excited and are happy to be [here]."

Maroon can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, so Game 7 could mark his final game with the Blues. Either way, he plans to take full advantage of this chance.

"It's awesome to be in my hometown and put that sweater on every night of the team I grew up watching, my favorite team," he said. "To have the opportunity to play a Game 7 and live out my childhood dream is truly amazing. It's going to be a fun game."

Bouwmeester isn't quite as emotional as Maroon, at least on the outside. It's easy to understand his caution when examining his journey.

After all, it took 764 regular-season NHL games, a career that began with the Florida Panthers in 2002, before he participated in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time with the Blues in 2013. Now in his 16th NHL season, he's taking a very pragmatic approach to Game 7.

"When you start the playoffs, you know you have a pretty long road ahead of you and you just focus on the games," he said. "You just go all the way along. We're still in that position.

"Everyone knows there are no games after this. You still have to have your focus. You still have to prepare and take care of the task at hand."

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