ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Blues are unconcerned that when the puck drops for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins on Monday at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS) their opponent will have more Cup experience then they do.
“We’re here,” defenseman Colton Parayko said. “We’ve had to go through a lot of hurdles to get to this spot already. I think it’s just one of those things you can kind of talk about, but the character that we have in this room, I don’t think experience is a thing. We’ll see. It’s going to be a good series. They’re a good team. Should be fun.”
Boston’s lineup includes defenseman Zdeno Chara, forwards Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand, and goalie Tuukka Rask, each of whom won the Stanley Cup in 2011 with the Bruins. Defenseman Torey Krug joined them on the 2013 Bruins team that lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Cup Final. And defenseman John Moore played for the New York Rangers in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings.
Blues forward David Perron played in the 2018 Cup Final for the Vegas Golden Knights against the Washington Capitals. And forward Oskar Sundqvist was on the Pittsburgh Penguins when they won the 2016 Stanley Cup, though he was primarily a healthy scratch, playing in two postseason games, none in the Cup Final against the San Jose Sharks.
“They say that about every series,” Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said. “It started with the last one, obviously [San Jose] beating us in 2016. We’re just going to keep playing. There’s always a storyline trying to be made, but both teams are here for a reason. I expect that, regardless of whether it’s the Stanley Cup [Final] or whether not all of us have played at some big stage or some big tournament at some point in our career.”
The Blues have players, including Pietrangelo, that have played on big stages, whether it be for their country at the Winter Olympics, at the World Championship, World Junior Championship, or some form of high-pressure situation that they feel can help them through perhaps the biggest games they’ll ever play.
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“We’ve had a lot of guys that have been in some high-pressure situations that we’re looking for to be the voices in the room,” center Ryan O’Reilly said.
Of course, the Blues worked through a lot of adversity and won many important games just to reach this point. They were last in the League on Jan. 3, yet finished in third place in the Central Division, won the Western Conference First Round against the Winnipeg Jets, defeated the Dallas Stars in double overtime in Game 7 of the second round and then defeated the Sharks in the conference final.
“These guys are ready,” Perron said. “For sure, the guys that have been working for it for a long time, they’re the ones that are the most ready. They’re going to be the ones driving the bus and that’s definitely what we need. “I think for the young guys, just got to do as good a job as you can and stay in the moment, not worry about family, all that stuff. It’s going to take care of itself at the end of the day. The less distractions that we have, the better we can play.
“I don’t really have much to say other than we have to be ready from the start and turn the page, not worry about what we’ve done already.”