Game 7 offers teams an opportunity to let it all hang out.
For some teams, this might translate into taking a considerable risk on offense in hopes of doing damage to the scoreboard. For the St. Louis Blues, it just might mean toeing the line of foul play.
Craig Berube possibly hinted at such prior to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, which has been an awfully physical series from the get-go.
The Blues took two suspensions through the first six games of the series. Oskar Sundqvist was forced to sit out one game after his punishing hit in Game 2 on Matt Grzelyck, who still hasn’t cleared the NHL’s concussion protocol. Ivan Barbashev was unable to take the ice for Game 6 following his high hit on Marcus Johansson in the contest prior.
This also could be a case of gamesmanship from the Blues coach, who’s been no stranger to the tactic this series. Berube criticized the officials following his team’s 7-2 loss in Game 3, noting St. Louis was the least penalized team in the league through the first three rounds of the postseason. But after the Blues’ Game 5 win, which was aided by a blatant no-call on Noel Acciari, Berube claimed he was “not here to judge the officials.”
It goes without saying physicality will be in spades Wednesday night at TD Garden. But considering the magnitude of the winner-take-all contest, it sounds like the Blues might test their boundaries with the refs.