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Stanley Cup Final

Schenn eyes big role for Blues in Stanley Cup Final against Bruins

Center seeks more production, aims to help shut down Boston's top line

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Brayden Schenn has been quiet offensively during the Stanley Cup Playoffs but has done the little things to help the St. Louis Blues reach the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins.

Game 1 of the best-of-7 series is Monday at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS), and the center, who has seven points (two goals, five assists) in 19 playoff games, is hoping to add more production to his strong all-around game.

 

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"I said all along I'm a guy that gets put in offensive situations, whether it's power play, playing with top players on this team," Schenn said. "Obviously I did it kind of throughout the regular season where I was producing a little bit more, but playoffs, it's obviously tough. 

"But at the same time when you're not scoring, you've got to find other ways to be effective and you can do that by our line playing against other teams' top matchups, being physical and bringing that side of the game too. I'll try and do that coming up in this series."

Schenn did score his second goal in the playoffs during the series-clinching Game 6 win in the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks, helping the Blues reach the Cup Final for the first time since 1970.

It was his first goal in 14 games since Game 5 of the first round against the Winnipeg Jets, and judging by his celebration, mockingly breaking his stick in half over his knee and dropping it on the ice, it was a welcome relief.

"That's a black hole moment," Schenn said. "Whatever comes to your mind, that's what happens."

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The Blues can only hope that it's a sign of things to come in the Cup Final.

"I think he's been playing great hockey, it's just the points, the goals have not come," coach Craig Berube said. "It's not from a lack of try and chances. He's getting lots of chances. So it was good to see him get that one (in Game 6)."

Schenn, who had 54 points (17 goals, 37 assists) in 72 games during the regular season, has played primarily with Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko as his linemates since Game 5 against the Jets. Schwartz has 12 goals in the postseason (one more than he had during the regular season), Tarasenko is on a six-game point streak (eight points; three goals, five assists) and Schenn ranks seventh in the playoffs with 55 hits, playing solid defensively and aggressively leading the forecheck.

"We're getting good matchups," Schenn said. "Obviously you're counted on to score, but at the same time, you're counted on to defend. We played some (against) [Mark] Scheifele, some [Blake] Wheeler in the first series; we played a lot against [Jamie] Benn and [Tyler] Seguin in the second (series against the Dallas Stars), and with a combination of either our line or O'Reilly's line, but a lot of that [Sharks] series, we were playing against [Logan] Couture. 

"You've got to be counted on in your own end, good defensively. That's obviously important."

In the Stanley Cup Final, they'll likely be tasked with trying to contain Boston's top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.

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"It doesn't get any easier against [the Bergeron line]," Schenn said. "It's a top-end line in our League. They play well together. They're dynamic off the rush, they're good in their own end."

"We look forward to that matchup. Maybe we don't get that matchup, maybe we do, but they've got a lot of good players on that team, so whoever you get, you've just got to try and win your matchup."

Nevertheless, St. Louis will need Schenn to be at his best offensively -- if not scoring, then helping to create opportunities.

"I know when I'm playing bad hockey and when I'm not contributing," he said. "I'd like to contribute a little bit more offensively, but it doesn't even matter really. We're in the Stanley Cup Final. It doesn't matter if I score or [Tarasenko] scores or [Alexander] Steen scores. 

"As long as at the end of the day, you get a win. That's the most important thing. It's not about the points, it's about the wins, and here's a chance to step up on the biggest stage."

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