Bruins vs. Blues: Three keys to Game 6 of Stanley Cup Final

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The rules for Game 6 are real simple. A win for the St. Louis Blues means the 2018-19 season is over and the Blues are Stanley Cup champions for the first time in franchise history. For Boston, their season is over unless they can find a way to send this series back to Boston for Game 7. We’re all about to find out on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBC).

Here are your keys to victory for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final:

• Square away your emotions

Closing out a playoff series can be one of hockey’s hardest tasks, one that is surely compounded by the fact that the Blues know a win would end a half-century wait for the Stanley Cup in the city. At the player level, this is everything any NHLer has dreamed of since they were a little kid. The magnitude of Game 6 for the Blues off the charts. They don’t want to go back to Boston for a Game 7. There’s a lot of things running through the minds of these Blues players, whether they lead onto it or not. It simply can’t be blocked out, but it can be managed. And that’s exactly what the Blues need to do come puck drop. They’ve outplayed Boston 5-on-5, kept the Patrice Bergeron line at bay and removed the word ‘dangerous’ from Boston’s formerly lethal power play. Enterprise Center will be the world’s largest pressure cooker on Sunday night.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

• Draw on the past

The Bruins find themselves in a familiar spot in Game 6. In Round 1, they entered Game 6 down 3-2 in their series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Given where they are at the moment, you’ll know that the Bruins came back from the brink of elimination to win that series. So there’s some experience to draw on. For a couple of Bruins remaining from their 2011 Stanley Cup run, they, too, have seen this before. The Bruins trailed the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final 3-2 before rattling off wins in Game 6 and 7 to secure the mug. Like St. Louis, it will be important for Boston to get their mind right and play their brand of hockey.

• Stay disciplined 

Ever since the disaster that was Game 3, the Blues have done an exceptional job of limiting both Boston’s power play opportunities and shot attempts when they do find themselves in penalty trouble. It’s been a massive boon to their success in Games 4 and 5, both wins where the Bruins were 0-for-5 after going 6-for-14 in the first three games. Keeping that dangerous power play at bay one more time will be key, and keeping themselves out of the penalty box will be an important first step to lifting the Stanley Cup. Boston hasn’t gone three straight games in these playoffs without a power-play goal.

Blues-Bruins Game 6 is Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and the NBC Sports app.

MORE BLUES – BRUINS COVERAGE:
Blues looking to seize opportunity, close out storybook season
• Pucks tell the story of Blues’ rollercoaster season
• Bruins’ Chara was more than just brave in Game 5
• Chara, Dunn join jaw-dropping club of playing through pain
• Bruins, Blues in familiar places heading into Game 6


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck