What begins tonight doesn't happen often for the Blues, or for most teams in the NHL, to be honest. Reaching the conference finals is a tough task. For the Blues, out of all of this year's final four, it has probably been the toughest path. Two grueling seven game series is a lot of hard work, and their next opponent may be the toughest one of all. The Sharks ran through the Los Angeles Kings in just five games, and while going seven with Nashville, still managed to demolish them in a final game that was as much of a blowout as the Blues' win over the Stars.
Whatever team makes it out of the Conference Finals really should be the Stanley Cup favorites. I can't really consider either the Penguins or the Lightning "battle hardened" by the playoffs, and I don't think that they will be at the end of their conference finals.
The last time the Blues made it to the Western Conference Finals it was 2001. I wasn't old enough to drink yet. I'm sure glad that I'm old enough to drink now.
This is your morning open thread. Check back later on for your usual slate of game day posts, including a Lighting the Lamp, a preview, and your GDT. We also have some other things scheduled, so while you're waiting check out our friends at Fear The Fin and see how they're approaching this series. It's probably with nerves and booze too.