The St. Louis Blues have the opportunity to clinch the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history Sunday in Game 6 against the Boston Bruins.
As recently as January 3, the Blues were at the bottom of the league standings, but after a road win over the Bruins in Game 5, they are one win away from hoisting the hockey's most iconic trophy.
St. Louis displayed terrific bounce-back ability in Games 4 and 5, outscoring Boston 6-3 after being on the wrong end of a seven-goal outburst in Game 3.
In order for the Bruins to stay alive and force a Game 7, they have to win at Enterprise Center for the second time in the series.
Game 6 Information
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports app
Odds (via Oddschecker): St. Louis -117 (bet $117 to win $100); Boston +100 (bet $100 to win $100)
St. Louis deserves a ton of credit for putting itself in position to clinch the series in Game 6.
Most teams would have been affected by conceding seven goals on home ice, but the Blues shook off the loss and reeled off a pair of wins to set up the clinching scenario.
Blues head coach Craig Berube noted Saturday that the final win of a series is the hardest to get, per Chris Pinkert of the team's official website:
"I think every round it's been difficult to get that fourth win. It's always hard to close a team out, and we're going to get their best game. (It will be) a lot like (Game 5).
"I thought they came out hard, like I said, they really poured it on in the first period," Berube said. "We hung in there, and we're going to have to be really prepared to go. In Game 6, we will be. And again, we're at home, so we've got to get after that team in the first period and set the tone."
The Blues are in a similar scenario to the Western Conference Final, when they rallied for three straight wins after suffering a Game 3 defeat at home.
In fact, the Blues are 7-1 this postseason in Game 5 or later, and if they get an eighth victory of that type Sunday, they will etch the season into franchise history.
St. Louis could receive a boost in the form of Robert Thomas' return. He has been sidelined for most of the series with an undisclosed injury and will officially be a game-time decision for the Blues, per NHL.com's Louie Korac.
"Yeah, he was out there today, and we'll see tomorrow, for sure," Berube said. "It's a game-time decision. Obviously, he's been a very good player for us for a long time, and we'll see."
The biggest concern for the Bruins, as it was going into Game 5, is the health of defensemen Zdeno Chara and Matt Grzelcyk.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy noted Grzelcyk, who suffered a concussion in Game 2, has not been cleared to compete, per NHL.com's Tim Campbell: "He hasn't been medically cleared, so he's still in a red [jersey]."
Chara, who suffered a broken jaw after taking a puck to the face in Game 4, told NHL.com's Dan Rosen that he felt fine playing with the injury in Game 5.
The key for the Bruins in Game 6 is to try to put the Blues under pressure right away with a first-period goal, similar to what they did in Game 3 by scoring three times in the opening 20 minutes.
Boston's top attackers players need to be sharp in front of goal in order to test Jordan Binnington with every chance they get.
The Bruins got that pressure in Game 5 with 39 shots, but only one of them squeezed by Binnington.
Boston's offensive production has come from all over the roster in the playoffs, but this is a game in which Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak must step up.
Through five games of the Stanley Cup Final, Boston's top trio has three goals and six assists, which simply is not good enough for Boston to lift the Stanley Cup.
From a defensive perspective, St. Louis must find more success in shutting down Boston's top line, which will take away a handful of scoring chances.
Offensively, the Blues need to put more shots in Tuukka Rask's direction after the Boston goalie only made 19 saves in Game 5.
In Games 1 and 5, Rask faced 41 combined shots, but St. Louis did a better job getting the puck on net in Games 2, 3 and 4, as the Finn was forced into 95 saves.
The Blues might not be able to score in the first minute, like they did at home in Game 4 through Ryan O'Reilly, but if they strike first again Sunday, it could lead to a Stanley Cup triumph.