Miracles + Cup Wins & ‘Gloria’ = Best Moments In Blues Playoff History

Written By Darren Cooper on May 11, 2022
Best moments in Blues playoff history

When it comes to making the playoffs, few NHL franchises have been as successful as the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues have made the playoffs 45 out of 54 years, and success came early.

The Blues were the best of the first wave of expansion teams in 1968, immediately reaching the Stanley Cup finals three years in a row.

While the Blues have hoisted the Stanley Cup just once, fans have been treated to several decades’ worth of great playoff moments.

With the Blues once again in the NHL playoffs this year , it’s a good time to look at the Blues best playoff moments in franchise history.

Plus, lawmakers are edging ever closer to allowing legal Missouri sports betting, so fans might get a chance starting next year to bet on their favorite team in the playoffs.

And who knows, the Blues may add to this list after this year’s playoffs.

1986: The Monday Night Miracle

This was a Blues team coached by Jacques Demers that finished third in the Norris Division with a 37-34-9 mark. They were underdogs — by far — heading into the playoffs. They dismissed Minnesota (then the North Stars) 3-2 in the first round, then took out Toronto in seven games.

That set up a Conference finals showdown with the Calgary Flames. The Flames led the series 3-2 with Game 6 in St. Louis Arena. The Flames were rolling. It was 4-1 Calgary then 5-2 midway through the third period.

St. Louis came roaring back.

With under two minutes to go, Greg Paslawski became an all-time Blues hero with a forecheck-steal-shot all in one motion to stun the Flames and tie the game with 1:10 left.

In overtime, Doug Wickenheiser fired a wrist shot for the game-winner. It’s known as the Monday Night Miracle in hockey. The fact that the Flames won Game 7 doesn’t even matter.

2019: Blues find glory and ‘Gloria’

Of course, for the Blues to win the Stanley Cup, it had to be an odd year. Mike Yeo started the season as the Blues coach and was fired after 19 games and the team sitting at 7-9-3.

Guess what? The Blues got even worse under interim coach Craig Berube, sinking to last place in the NHL in early January.

But everything was coming together.

Rookie goalie Jordan Binnington got hot.

The Blues went on an 11-game winning streak.

Then they found inspiration from Laura Branigan’s “Gloria,” playing the song after every win. The Blues finished the season with 99 points and made the playoffs.

In the Western Conference semifinals, it came down to Game 7 against the Dallas Stars. St. Louis-born Pat Maroon scored the winning goal in double OT for the Blues.

In the conference finals, the Blues routed the San Jose Sharks 5-1 in Game 6 to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The finals series with the Boston Bruins went seven games, but the Blues never lost their cool. Ryan O’Reilly scored a goal and an assist in Game 7 and won the Conn Smythe Trophy. Binnington made 32 saves and the Blues won 4-1.

They finally brought a Cup to the Gateway City.

2016: Bigger in Texas

The seeds of that 2019 Stanley Cup team were planted in 2016 when the Blues went on a big playoff run.

In the Western Conference quarterfinals, the Blues and Chicago Blackhawks went seven games, but Blues forward (and former Blackhawk) Troy Brouwer pounced on a loose puck and scored for the Blues to advance.

Now in the conference semifinals, the Blues and Stars went seven games. But Game 7 was a Blues wipeout. Brian Elliott was good in net, and the Stars goalies were, uh, not in a 6-1 rout.

In the Western Conference finals, the Blues won Game 1 against the San Jose Sharks, but San Jose won a pivotal Game 5, scoring three goals in the third period, and went on to win the series 4-2.

1970: Not Orr-dinary

Let’s get one thing out of the way first, no one was beating the Boston Bruins and Bobby Orr in 1970.

This is the year of Orr’s famous overtime flying goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. Some team had to be on the other side of the ice, and it was the Blues, playing in their third straight Stanley Cup finals.

St. Louis won the Western Division that season with 86 points, then got by the Minnesota North Stars 4-2 in the first round. Larry Keenan scored with five minutes left in Game 6 as the Blues beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the semifinals.

The Blues had great netminders in Jacques Plante and Ernie Wakely in the finals, but Boston had Bobby Orr.

Forty-nine years later, the Blues would get revenge.

1968: First time, long time

The year 1968 marked a remarkable change for the NHL.

The league added six expansion teams, all in the newly-formed Western Division. The “Original Six” stayed in one division in the East, meaning the Stanley Cup finals would be an established team against an expansion one.

St. Louis had goalie Glenn Hall and an emerging star in Red Berenson but finished third in the division. In the playoffs, Hall got hot. In a dramatic Game 7 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Hall made 26 saves and the Blues advanced to the second round with a 3-1 win.

In the next round, St. Louis met the North Stars in maybe the best series win in Blues history. Game 7 was scoreless until four minutes left when the North Stars scored. Dickie Moore answered 31 seconds later, sending the then-record crowd of 15,586 into a frenzy.

In double overtime, Ron Schock scored on a wrist shot to send the Blues to the Stanley Cup finals.

As expected, the Blues were no match for the Montreal Canadiens, getting swept 4-0 in the finals. For his efforts, though, Hall was named winner of the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP.

Photo by Michael Dwyer / Associated Press
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Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He's won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

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