There’s no doubt that the Blues’ run of great regular seasons followed by poor playoff performances left some people skeptical about their ability to win the big game.
Some, like yours truly, were still skeptical when they jumped out to 2-0 lead in Game 7 (I wasn’t totally wrong, was I?). But in the end, St. Louis finally got over the hump.
If you had your doubts about the St. Louis Blues’ ability to win big hockey games, Ken Hitchcock has a message for you:
The players and the staff deserve a lot of credit for what went down last night. The Blues could have closed up shop a number of times in this series. There was that time they dropped a double overtime game in Game 5, the time they blew a two-goal lead in Game 6 and the time they blew a 2-0 lead in Game 7.
It also helped that they got this fortunate bounce:
Both teams always have a lot to lose in a Game 7, but in this case, it’s not a stretch to suggest that the Blues had way more at stake than the ‘Hawks did.
Think about it, what if St. Louis had lost Game 7?
They probably would’ve axed their entire coaching staff and made significant on-ice changes over the course of the summer. Names like David Backes, Troy Brouwer, Brian Elliott and Kevin Shattenkirk might have all been looking for new homes (they still could be moved).
Many will focus on how the Blackhawks are going home early, but the Blues deserve the credit. They got the job done with their backs against the wall and many of their jobs on the line.
A quick second-round exit could still lead to a ton of changes in the Blues’ organization, but now that they’ve tasted success, they deserve the benefit of the doubt.