EDMONTON, AB — On Wednesday, when the St. Louis Blues officially drop the puck in the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it will be 428 days since the team hoisted the Cup in 2019's Game 7 in Boston.
It's been a long wait to try for a repeat, thanks to COVID-19, but now it's time to see if the Blues can make some more history.
Things haven't been great so far on the ice for the Blues up in the Edmonton bubble (the team has yet to win a game in three round-robin contests and an exhibition game), but this is the Blues we're talking about.
After what we witnessed last year, we know anything is possible.
So now that we're officially in the first round, let's take a look at five reasons the team that made history in 2019 could add to the legend and do it again this year.
5: This group knows what it takes
It's often said the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy in sports to win, and that it's almost impossible to win twice in a row.
The Blues will be looking to buck that notion armed with their experience from last season.
Entering the 2019 playoffs, very few members of the Blues had the experience of a deep playoff run. Now, they all do, and will know how to stay fresh and manage both the mental and physical aspects of playing high-pressure hockey on the world's biggest stage.
The Blues, Capitals, Blackhawks and Bruins are the only teams left in the playoffs who have won a Cup in the past 10 years. And those Chicago and Boston teams are completely different than the roster in 2020.
The Blues know what it takes, and that experience will be put to use this year.
4: The Perron-O'Reilly-Sanford line could be magic again
There's just something about this line.
The connection David Perron and Ryan O'Reilly forged last year was special, and it only carried over to this season.
While the team as a whole was less than impressive in the round-robin games, this line showed flashes of that magic bond.
In the three round-robin games, the Perron, O'Reilly and Sanford combined for six points between them. The connection is still there, and it could be the offensive jolt the team ends up riding.
3: The Blues have Jordan Binnington
Binnington may have allowed 8 goals in two games in the round-robin, but I'd venture the ice-cold NHL sophomore still isn't nervous.
The Blues had been waiting their entire history for a goaltender who could take over a game or series to lead the team to a Stanley Cup. They have that in Binnington, who we saw at his best a year ago.
We know the ability to take over is there, and it's liable to break out once again this year.
2: Craig Berube will have his team ready for battle
If there's one man I'd want leading my team into a battle like this, it's Craig Berube.
His message connects to his guys, who have shown they can rise to the challenge when "Chief" calls upon them.
Berube made a point to light some fire under his team as the round-robin rolled along, saying the energy and the "want-to" needed to be raised to a higher level.
It will be when the first round begins. Because Chief said so.
1: Adversity seems to make this group stronger
We've already seen what this Blues team can do when they fire their coach, find themselves with the worst record in hockey in January, start an unknown rookie goaltender, get hosed on a missed call in the conference finals and then have to win a Game 7 on the road in the Stanley Cup Final. So, a global pandemic should be no problem, right?
It's like these guys feed on adversity.
Before last year, that .1 second loss to Colorado in the first game of the round-robin would've seemed like a textbook Blues heartbreak.
Now, no big deal. These guys know how to use that as fuel going forward.
The harder the conditions, the bigger the Blues show up. They've proven it before, and they've got a golden opportunity to do it again. I wouldn't bet against this bunch when the odds are down.