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Blues Defeat the Bruins in Game 7 to Win Their First Stanley Cup

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No team before these Blues had gone from last place in the N.H.L. after its 20th game to winning the Cup in the same season, and St. Louis — after 37 games, or 45 percent of its regular-season schedule — was the worst of the worst. But the Blues cultivated a resilience that propelled them to an 11-game winning streak, to the most points in the league after Jan. 1 and through four grueling playoff series, each tied after four games. In the games that followed, the Blues went 8-2, winning by a combined score of 30-16.

With 25 seconds remaining in Game 7, the Blues started jumping on their bench, and when the final second ticked off, they leapt over the boards, flung their sticks and gloves in the air and mobbed their goalie.

Binnington had rebounded from a porous Game 6 to set the record for most victories (16) by a rookie goalie in a single postseason. One of the goalies he surpassed was Ron Hextall, who played in Philadelphia with Craig Berube, the Blues’ replacement coach after Mike Yeo was fired on Nov. 19.

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Seven teams changed coaches during the season, but of those only St. Louis reached the playoffs. Not long after taking over, Berube removed the standings board in the Blues’ dressing room. Too negative. More lasting changes needed incubation. He wanted opponents to hate playing against the Blues.

“Grinding teams down — that’s kind of how we’re built,” Berube said Sunday morning. “We really grasped playing that way and became really good at it.”

So good at it that in a league trending smaller, faster, shiftier, that style became the Blues’ pathway to glory — or rather, “Gloria,” the 1982 hit that became the team’s singalong victory anthem. The Blues deploy an unremitting forecheck that vaporizes bodies and spirits, slamming players into boards and out of games. It helped them oust Winnipeg, Dallas, San Jose and, finally, Boston, the team that swept the Blues in the 1970 finals.



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