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Benjamin Hochman: 'That was hard on the heart.' Blues persevere in epic Game 5 overtime win.

Benjamin Hochman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Hockey

DENVER — Inside a quiet elevator in a silenced arena, the doors opened to reveal the biggest Blues fan there is.

Tom Stillman, hockey-loving chairman of the Blues, stepped into a Ball Arena elevator to go down to ice level, where it had just happened.

It, of course, being the impossible.

“That was hard on the heart,” Stillman said. “But it showed the team has a lot of heart.”

Even before puck-drop, it was hard to believe the Blues would win this game. After their embarrassing showing in Game 4 at home, Game 5 at Ball Arena was supposed to be a Colorado coronation — finally, the Avs would return to the conference final for the first time since 2002.

Then consider that down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, the Blues were down 3-0 in Game 5’s second period.

 

It was over. This column would be an obituary.

And now, suddenly, inexplicably, the Blues are back in this series. What they showed out there wasn’t just simply grit and grind — this was something at another level of perseverance, something you can’t coach or teach or preach. Something that certain teams just have in them, while others don’t.

With 2:46 left in Game 5, after the Blues had battled back to tie, the Avs scored. The home team led 4-3. The fans sang the merry song “All The Small Things,” as they do here late in likely wins.

“Yeah, it’s tough (at that moment),” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “We battle back and then we give up that goal like that. It could be really deflating, but our team has got a lot of guts and they’re a resilient bunch of guys. I thought they were positive. We talked about what we were going to do with the goalie and stuff and it ended up working out.”

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