If the St. Louis Blues want to be considered the bounce-back kings in these Stanley Cup Playoffs — and not to mention Stanley Cup champions — they’ll have to rebound on the biggest stage hockey can provide and in hostile territory for good measure.
And that might just appeal to a Blues team that hasn’t been great at home yet has been all that and more on the road in these playoffs.
Sunday’s 5-1 loss in Game 6 to the Boston Bruins was St. Louis’ seventh home loss of the postseason, dropping them below .500 (6-7). Their Game 5 win to push the Bruins to the brink, meanwhile, was their ninth win away from Enterprise Center, a shiny 9-3 record that’s thrown shade on the importance of home-ice advantage, outscoring opponents 38-29.
“Well, we’ve just got to play,” Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said after Sunday’s loss. “We’ve been a good road team all year. We know we need to play better and we’ve had a good recipe on the road, so we’ll use that.”
Ryan O'Reilly, who’s in the conversation for the Conn Smythe if the Blues can close it out on Wednesday, said the Blues feel confident heading to what’s sure to be a raucous TD Garden.
“Maybe that’s our story,” he said. “Maybe we have to get it done on the road.”
To do so, the Blues need to sort out some problems.
Going 0-for-4 on the power play, for instance. That’s a no-no, especially after getting 12 looks on Rask on those man advantages. The Blues are an ugly 1-for-18 in the series. It’s been a sticking point for them for most of the postseason.
“Listen, if you told me four months ago we were going to be in the Finals in Game 7, I think I’d take it,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “We’ve been a good road team. We’ve won twice up there in this series, so we’re a confident group.”
Confidence is one thing, execution is another.
The Blues have largely been able to combine both after losses in these playoffs. Do it again and they’ll have a Stanley Cup to lift high over their heads.
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck