I just want to be a playoff team.
Two months ago, the St. Louis Blues were in last place in the Western Conference and looked like a team that had very little chance of reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Since then, they've been one of the best teams in the NHL. Their reward? Sixth place in the conference. The Blues clinched the No. 6 seed on Sunday afternoon thanks to a 1-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. With the victory, they improved to 18-6-3 since Feb. 15, when they were looking up to 14 teams in the Western standings. By earning the sixth seed, St. Louis will face the Vancouver Canucks in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Had the Blues lost on Sunday, they would have finished eighth -- which would have meant a date with the top-seeded San Jose Sharks. Instead, they finished with the best second-half record in the League at 25-9-7. Vancouver clinched the Northwest Division on Saturday, edging out the Calgary Flames for the No. 3 seed. The best-of-seven series will begin on Wednesday or Thursday night at General Motors Place. "It's tough to talk about the series right now, coming off the emotional of this game," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "We wanted to finish sixth, not because we felt any better playing against Vancouver than we did against San Jose, but your job in this sport is to finish as high in the standings as you can and to win the next game. Today was the next game. We know we face a real tough opponent in Vancouver." Brad Boyes scored the lone goal of the Blues, which came exactly six minutes into the game. Chris Mason, who has been sensational down the stretch, stopped all 28 shots he faced for his sixth shutout of the season. "We probably didn't play our best game, but we got the job done," Mason said. "We're excited to finish in sixth. It's unbelievable. Now the real fun starts, and we have a tough opponent in Vancouver. It's going to be exciting." St. Louis finished the regular season by going 9-1-1 over its last 11 games and 5-1-1 on the road. The Blues clinched a playoff spot on Friday night with a 3-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who spent the majority of the second half of the season in sixth place. Columbus, now the No. 7 seed, will face the Detroit Red Wings in the first round. With 91 points, the Anaheim Ducks finished eighth and will head to San Jose. "I think we surprised some people in the regular season, and we'd like nothing better than to do the same thing in the playoffs," Murray said. "It's just going to be so exciting to bring this team back to St. Louis for some playoff games."NHL.com - NHL Insider: St. Louis earns No. 6 seed - 04/12/2009
Pretty good and fair assessment of the players of the Year. Article nominates Murray as coach of the year, TJ Oshie as the Runner up Rookie of the Year, Mason as the Runner up Suprise Player of the Year and also as the Runner up Goalie of the Year. Also be sure to Vote Andy on the Fan Poll
KPLR coverage of the final 2 minutes and on-ice celebration of the clinch.