Sometimes, life resembles a movie.
In the 1975 film, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, there’s a shark terrorizing the New England tourist town of Amity Island, killing people and injuring others. Three men: Roy Schneider’s Martin Brody; Richard Dreyfuss’ Matt Hopper; Robert Shaw’s Quint: assemble in a boat to go take the large water creature out. At one point, Brody looks up and warns the others, “I think are we going to need a bigger boat.”
The Blues have a big enough boat this spring. After many frustrating years of coming up short or dangling Stanley Cup Finals hopes over fans, the St. Louis rogues in blue are one win away from the final round to determine who takes home Lord Stanley’s precious cup. Can you taste it? Can you feel it? Sure, the temperatures were unusually cold this morning in the city, but perhaps that’s because there’s a funeral planned for 9:30 p.m. tonight at the Enterprise Center.
The 2018-19 Sharks are being put to rest. You heard it here. The Blues have the California Whiners on the ropes, pushing them to the brink of elimination with an embarrassing defeat on Sunday afternoon. The 5-0 asskicking left Peter DeBoer and his team crying rivers of shame and torment, saying the Blues roughed them up too much and didn’t dry off their bums. Five Sharks reportedly may miss tonight’s game, which could turn Game 6 into an ugly affair real quick.
The Sharks have only scored a single goal since a handpass helped them win Game 3 on Wednesday night. Studs like Logan Couture have been held in check. Joe Pavelski spent more time under Alex Pietrangelo’s skate than in front of the net on Sunday. Timo Meier is too busy crying about missed calls and avoiding the fact that he passed a game-winning puck to his teammate that decided a Stanley Cup playoff game. The hypocrisy is present with these Sharks, which just makes me want to beat the shit out of them more.
I want to make sure DeBoer, Pavelski, and Brent Burns leave St. Louis tonight sulking into the cool dead night. The refs, who helped them win games in each of the playoff rounds this spring, can’t support them anymore without losing their jobs or dignity. It’s all on them to stop the torrential downpour of Blues vengeance that will be raining down on them right after puck drop tonight. It’s almost not fair. 52 years of agony, defeat, and sheer anticipation coming at you full tilt. Well, I almost feel sorry for San Jose. Almost.
Here’s something funny about Sunday’s game that I pointed out in today’s St. Louis Game Time paper and on Twitter two days ago. While watching the second period unfold and the Blues take a commanding lead via the Jaden Schwartz show, I could see the Blues were living inside the Sharks heads. Now, any Blues fan will tell you this isn’t usually the case. The opposing team gets inside the head of the Blues and torments them and the fanbase. This time, the Blues have bought up real estate in the San Jose sector of hockey, pushing them to the brink and resetting their clocks for “oh shit” o’clock. I’d like to think the purchase was finalized when Vladimir Tarasenko scored on that penalty shot. The faces, sounds, and legs in San Jose went dark and limp.
They dominated the neutral zone, forechecked the Sharks into oblivion, and disrupted the play of their opponent so aggressively, the Shark took 36 minutes in penalties trying to stay level-headed.
Against all odds, and the wishes of Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick, the Blues are as close to the Stanley Cup Finals as they were in 1986. Run from it. Deny it. Try to avoid it. Destiny arrives. If they win tonight, it’s the first Cup Final for the team since 1970. Will this be the year that fans around town don’t have to utter in sad disappointment, “maybe next year?” The more I think about it, the more I believe in it.
Here’s reason #4,242 why sports are romantically treacherous: David Backes will be waiting for the Blues if they pass the mark tonight. A guy who spent ten years salivating for a Cup in St. Louis will have to go through his old team to hold one. The irony could be sliced with only the sharpest of knives. Backes hasn’t had the easiest run lately. He was benched for parts of the first three playoff rounds of the Bruins, and has spent time on the lower lines of Boston during his two seasons there. The 20 points he collected was a career low this season. It may be his last shot.
That’s for later. At the moment, the Blues need to stick a bomb down the throat of these Sharks and hope they can get far enough away before it explodes. For the first time in years, they have a big enough boat...and a head coach with big enough balls to handle the pressure of this stage of the game.
Handshakes tonight would be lovely. The Blues are five wins away from their first Stanley Cup. They are closer. We can feel it.
Thanks for reading and be safe tonight no matter what happens.