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Another Game 7 for Blues' Brouwer

Forward will play in eighth straight when St. Louis faces Dallas

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues right wing Troy Brouwer knows Washington Capitals right wing Justin Williams has laid claim to the nickname "Mr. Game 7." But Brouwer can put his stake in on another one.

"Maybe 'Consecutive Game 7s,'" Brouwer said. "For me, I guess it's getting to be normal, just going straight to Game 7."

Normal for Brouwer, but uncommon in NHL history.

When the Blues and Dallas Stars play in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round at American Airlines Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports), Brouwer will be playing in his NHL-record eighth straight Game 7; he's 3-4, including the Blues' 3-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round.

"It's nice to have that experience and obviously being able to come out on top in the first series is going to give us a lot of confidence going into this Game 7," said Brouwer, who began his streak in 2011 playing one seven-game series with the Blackhawks, five straight with the Capitals and one with the Blues. "Guys, I don't know if they were nervous for last series, but there's no room for that anymore."

Video: STL@DAL, Gm5: Brouwer slips puck past Lehtonen

The Blues had a chance to put the Stars away on home ice in Game 6 on Monday, but after falling behind 3-0, they ultimately lost 3-2 to fall to 1-3 in elimination games, including 1-2 at home.

Many of the players on the St. Louis roster that had no Game 7 experience before defeating the Blackhawks at home hope they have learned something from it, though this game will be played in Dallas.

"Just ask [Brouwer]. What is this, eight in a row he's been in Game 7?" Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "I think he's got the most experience. 

"We obviously know the stage. It's going to be a little different now that we're on the road, but I think overall, we know what the pressure is, we know what it's going to be. We've just got to go out there and treat it like any other game."

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who is 4-2 all-time in Game 7s, said that experience against Chicago can go a long way, especially the freshness of it. 

Video: STL@DAL, Gm3: Brouwer beats defense to net goal

"I don't know about a good feeling, but I know the experience matters," Hitchcock said Tuesday. "I think we just [need to] get to our game a little quicker. Like I said yesterday watching the tape back, we had a great start to [Game 6] and we had, really, a four-minute span where we made a couple mistakes, both ended up in our net. We only gave up three scoring chances in the first period; all three were in the net. I think we know what it feels like. 

"We saw it in the second and third period and I said yesterday, we have one way to play. We just keep coming after you, hopefully we make you crack. That's the way we're going to play, that's the way we played in Game 7 against Chicago, that's the same way we're going to play tomorrow."

The Blues outshot the Stars 37-14 and held a 75-25 margin in shot attempts. St. Louis wants to go in with a sense of pride knowing its season is on the line, and hopes to build off the momentum of the final two periods Monday.

"I think we've learned lessons over years of experience, a lot of hard lessons," Blues captain David Backes said. "We've learned a lot of lessons this year facing adversity and being able to overcome it without some key guys for extended periods of time. We've got a goal on where we want to end this season, and that's not tomorrow night. We're going to put everything we have into it."

The Blues are 4-1 after a loss in the playoffs.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm2: Brouwer slams home PPG

"It's a very proud group," Hitchcock said. "It's a group that's been resilient all year, it was built through adversity, a really proud group. I would be awfully shocked if you didn't get our 'A' game tomorrow and our best game. If it's not good enough, it's not good enough. I think you're going to get our 'A' game tomorrow and that's what I'm looking forward to. 

"This is what tests you, this is a chance, our guys should be excited. This is a chance to knock off some really good hockey teams to get a chance to play in the conference final. Our guys should be pumped up to do it."

The Blues are 7-8 (3-6 on the road) all-time in Game 7 and last won a Game 7 road game in 1999, 1-0 in overtime against the Arizona Coyotes on a Pierre Turgeon goal and Grant Fuhr's 35-save shutout.

"Same mindset we had last series, going to take one more win to finish the series and it's what we want to do," Brouwer said. "This time [we'll] have to do it in someone else's building, but we're excited for the challenge."

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