These Bruins were big and heavy, but the Blues were bigger and heavier, and meaner, too. Their nastiness — two players missed games this series because of suspensions — smothered Boston’s top two lines for the first five games, limiting those six players to two total points at even strength, one an empty-net goal in Game 1. The Bruins doubled that total in Game 6, but the Blues stifled them — David Krejci’s lonely assist on Wednesday notwithstanding — in the final game of the year.
The Greater Boston area must now summon the fortitude to face its failure to hold three major titles at once. Oh, well, the World Series and the Super Bowl will have to do.
Let us consider instead the franchise that waited more than five decades for its coronation.
In each of the Blues’ first three seasons, after expansion placed six new teams in the same division, the team made the finals. The Blues went 0-12.
The one time they finished with the league’s best record, in 1999-2000, they lost in the first round. They endured Erik Johnson’s golf cart mishap, Grant Fuhr’s collision with Nick Kypreos, Steve Yzerman’s double-overtime winner and, most devastating of all, the motorcycle crash that took Bob Gassoff’s life.
So many revered players never got to parade down Market Street: Barclay and Bobby Plager, Gassoff and Federko, Al MacInnis and Hull, who is honored outside Enterprise Center with a street and a statue named after him.
So many revered coaches, too. Scotty Bowman and Al Arbour, Joel Quenneville and Jacques Demers — they tried liberating the Blues before thriving elsewhere.
To do what all of them could not, it took a team with an interim coach and a rookie goalie. It took Vladimir Tarasenko’s sniping and Colton Parayko’s stifling and O’Reilly’s scoring.
It took 52 years.
No N.H.L. team has waited longer for its first title than the Blues, who now have incontrovertible evidence that this all really did happen: a 34½-pound silver chalice, soon to be etched with their names, preserved for ever and ever.