ST. LOUIS -- Joel Edmundson is in and Robert Thomas is out as the Blues will make two lineup changes ahead of the biggest game in franchise history when they face the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final today at TD Garden (7 p.m.; NBC, KMOX 1120-AM).
Edmundson, who was a healthy scratch for Games 5 and 6, will replace Robert Bortuzzo and play alongside of Vince Dunn.
"I spoke with Chief [coach Craig Berube] yesterday so I knew last night," Edmundson said. "I kind of found out for sure this morning. I've played in, I think, three Game 7s now, so this will be my fourth. None of them compared to this one. It's obviously one of the biggest games of my life.
"It's going to be a helluva game tonight. We're excited. We're a confident group right now. We're just looking to get things going."
Berube cited that there will be a lot of minutes tonight played between Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko, so having two lefties on the third pair won't be an issue.
"With Parayko and Pietrangelo on the right side, they're just eating so many minutes up," Berube said. "There's not a lot of minutes over there. We decided to go with the four lefties then. What [Edmundson] can bring, he can bring a lot. He's got some real good upside, shoots the puck well, big guy, big body, physical player. He does do some things well in the offensive zone. I like his shot."
Berube cited Thomas not being in as a "coach's decision." Thomas, who returned for Game 6 after missing Games 2-5 with a lingering wrist injury and not stemming from a hit taken by Boston defenseman Torey Krug in Game 1, played just 9 minutes 21 seconds in Game 6 and had no shot attempts.
It's pretty obvious that Thomas was not ready to play.
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The Cup Final started 16 days ago, and both the Blues and Bruins have seen enough of each other throughout this series.
With everything at stake and all players with that knowledge, what's left to be said?
"I don't think anything," said Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who will be playing in his 1,259th game (regular season and playoffs) tonight. "It is what it is. It seems like we've been playing these guys for a month. Everyone knows what's on the line. You prepare yourself. It's exciting and all that, but you've got to go play a game, so you just prepare yourself to play the best game you can.
"We've got a lot of time until the game, so you really don't want to get too excited right now. Everyone knows what's on the line, both teams. It's human nature. It's little nerves and things before the game. Once the game starts, you get into it as much as possible."
For goalie Jordan Binnington, who will be playing in the second NHL Game 7 (2019 second round, a 2-1 double-overtime win over Dallas) of his career, the feeling is no different.
"It's all actions now," said Binnington, who is 7-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in the postseason following a loss. "It's the biggest stage we can play in. It's exciting and I think the group's really excited to get started tonight.
"I'm exited. It's obviously a huge stage, biggest stage you can get. It should be fun. ... It's one game. Whoever wants it more will get it. ... We know we can win in this building. It's a tough building to play in, but they're going to come hard tonight and we're going to come hard. It'll be two good teams going at it. It should be fun to watch. It's a special opportunity, it's something you dream of as a kid. We're here, we're living it here today and hopefully tonight."
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The Blues and doctors have already made Laila Anderson's life a living dream with her inclusion to attend games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Flying her and her mom Heather to Boston for Game 7 was the ultimate dream, one that made the little girl diagnosed two years ago with Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocystosis, or HLH, a rare immune disorder that required her to undergo chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant in January.
"It’s great," Berube said. "I think it’s great inspiration and obviously a great story, and we’re really happy about it."
Here's the video her mom posted, sent through the Blues: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFV6mBxpafk.
"Oh, it’s amazing," Blues forward and Oakville native Pat Maroon said. "That video last night her mom posted was truly amazing. She’s been an inspiration to all of us throughout the year and Alex Steen has done a good job of bringing her and making her feel comfortable, Colton Parayko the same way, making her feel welcome to the team and the St. Louis Blues welcome her and her family. It’s been truly amazing.
"She’s a fighter and she’s going to continue to fight. She’s our inspiration. We look up to her, what she has to go through every single day. To get on that plane, I know the doctors are questionable of getting her out there because of her health and to say that she gets to come on the plane and travel out here to see us play, that’s truly amazing. I’m so happy for her."
* Blues center Ryan O'Reilly, who has four goals the past three games, can become the third player in NHL history to score his team’s opening goal in four straight Cup Final games, joining Sid Smith in 1951 (Games 1-4) and Norm Ullman in 1966 (Games 3-6).
* Home teams own a 12-4 advantage in the 16 prior Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Final, but road teams have won each of the past two – in 2011 (BOS at VAN) and 2009 (PIT at DET).
* Including all rounds, this marks the 178th Game 7 in NHL history. The team that scores first is 131-46 (.740), including 11-5 in the Stanley Cup Final and 3-2 in 2019. Home teams are 104-73 (.587), including 4-1 in 2019.
* The Blues are playing their 18th Game 7 (9-8) and 11th on the road (4-6). Only two franchises in NHL history have played more Game 7s as visitors: the Maple Leafs (16) and Canadiens (12).
* The Blues are seeking to become the seventh team in NHL history – and first since 2000 – to win three games as a visitor during the Stanley Cup Final. The only teams that have done so: the 1921 Senators (at VMI), 1928 Rangers (at MMR), 1945 Maple Leafs (at DET), 1966 Canadiens (at DET), 1990 Oilers (at BOS) and 2000 Devils (at DAL). Each of the prior six won the Stanley Cup.
* The Blues are 9-3 on the road this postseason, including 5-0 after a loss, outscoring opponents 38-29. Only five teams in league history have won 10 games as visitors during a single playoff year: the 1995 New Jersey Devils (10-1), 2012 Los Angeles Kings (10-1), 2000 Devils (10-2), 2018 Washington Capitals (10-3) and 2004 Calgary Flames (10-4).
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The Blues' projected lineup:
Jaden Schwartz-Brayden Schenn-Vladimir Tarasenko
Zach Sanford-Ryan O'Reilly-David Perron
Sammy Blais-Tyler Bozak-Pat Maroon
Ivan Barbashev-Oskar Sundqvist-Alexander Steen
Carl Gunnarsson-Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester-Colton Parayko
Joel Edmundson-Vince Dunn
Jordan Binnington will start in goal; Jake Allen will be the backup.
Healthy scratches include Robert Thomas, Robert Bortuzzo, Robby Fabbri, Michael Del Zotto, Mackenzie MacEachern, Chris Thorburn, Chris Butler and Ville Husso.
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The Bruins' projected lineup:
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Karson Kuhlman
Marcus Johansson-Charlie Coyle-Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom-Sean Kuraly-Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
John Moore-Matt Grzelcyk
Tuukka Rask will start in goal; Jaroslav Halak will be the backup.
The healthy scratches include David Backes, Connor Clifton and Steven Kampfer. Chris Wagner (arm) and Kevan Miller (lower body) are out.