BOSTON -- They shed their gear as they hopped over the bench boards, sticks and gloves helicoptered in the air as their yells filled the TD Garden silence.
With that, the St. Louis Blues shed more than half a century of can't-win stigma. No longer will their legacy be reduced to black-and-white newsprint history, the players formerly known as the background tableau in the flying Bobby Orr photo from 1970.
The Blues delivered the city's first Stanley Cup with a 4-1 win Wednesday over the Boston Bruins in a supremely executed Game 7 that ended the longest wait for a Cup in NHL history at 52 years.
"We did it," Patrick Maroon said. "Being from St. Louis and signing in St. Louis, and winning the Stanley Cup and bringing it home and being with my family and friends, I can't wait for these next few days. This is truly something I'll never forget."
Maroon used an expletive to describe how he felt about the doubters. Belief was a scarce commodity Jan. 2. The Blues were last in the league on that date. But they bonded with a throwback physical style under coach Craig Berube and led by rookie goalie Jordan Binnington and Ryan O'Reilly, who was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as most outstanding player of the playoffs.
"You build those relationships by going through tough times," Alex Pietrangelo said. "A lot of us have played a lot of games here and been close. (It was a) tough start this year. It brings you closer together. "It's a tight group, trust me. That's why we play the way we do."
Pietrangelo, the captain, first handed the Cup to Jay Bouwmeester, the 35-year-old defenseman who got his hands on the coveted Cup after 1,210 regular-season and playoff games.
"I've been waiting a long time," Bouwmeester said. "I'm pretty honored that he gave it to me."
Bouwmeester and teammates skated right to Binnington when the horn sounded. Binnington became the first rookie goalie to win all 16 of his team's playoff games, and the 16th was a remarkable 32-save gem.
He lost the shutout when Matt Grzelcyk scored with 2 minutes 10 seconds remaining, but Binnington carried the Blues with 12 saves in the opening period and a big leg pad stop on Joakim Nordstrom in the third period.