ST. LOUIS — The first Stanley Cup Final game in 49 years is being played here tonight (8 p.m., NBC) and fans didn’t know how to act. But they figured it out.
“The city is buzzing,” Blues player David Perron said. “Great atmosphere. Our building has been loud and had an unreal atmosphere all throughout the playoffs. I’m sure it’s going to be even crazier.”
The last time St. Louis was host to a Stanley Cup Final game in 1970, the Blues, founded in 1967, were still in their infancy, legendary Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson was en route to a 23-7 season and fans believed they would have an NFL team forever.
With the best-of-seven series between the Blues and Boston Bruins tied 1-1 heading into Game 3, everyone in St. Louis seems to believe the Blues have an opportunity to win it all for the first time in franchise history. TV ratings for Game 1 in Boston set a local record.
“This city has gone crazy,” said former Blues player Bob Plager. “After we won the last round to go into the Stanley Cup playoffs, we had t-shirts and hats made up and the next day you couldn’t get into the souvenir shop at the rink.”
Blues players celebrate after the Game 2 win in Boston. (Photo: Greg M. Cooper, USA TODAY Sports)
Newscasts are airing stories about season ticket holders who have been with the team since 1967. Signs and banners are everywhere. Mezzanine seats at the ends were available on StubHub starting at $782 per seat Saturday morning.
“Everyone is talking about it all the time,” Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said. “You go to dinner and hear different tables talking about it. It’s cool to be a part of it.”
The Blues will be without key role player Oskar Sundqvist who was suspended by the NHL for hitting Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. He is in concussion protocol and didn’t make trip to St. Louis.
Zach Sanford will likely replace Sundqvist in the Blues' lineup in Game 3 against the Bruins. The irony is Sanford grew up in New Hampshire rooting for the Bruins.
“Obviously the crowd is going to get us excited but we’ve got to keep our emotions in check,” Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson said.
When the Blues were playing the Sharks in the Western Conference Final, the St. Louis Enterprise Center was deafening.
Said Edmundson: “If you were here for the San Jose series, I expect that plus….Saturday night in St. Louis, it's a little loud."
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