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It's all or nothing for the Blues in Game 7

Blues players watch the clock tick off the final seconds of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. From left: Tyler Bozak, Ivan Barbashev, Ryan O'Reilly, David Perron, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Oskar Sundqvist. Their victory, on June 12 in Boston, was the highest-rated program on St. Louis television in the last year. (Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com)

Hangovers are sometimes inevitable. Motivation is an entirely different thing. No matter what happens this season — or the next 20 seasons — the 2018-19 Blues will forever be legends in this town. They go down in local sports lore as the team that ended a dry spell that lasted a half-century by bringing St. Louis its first Stanley Cup. And they did so in dramatic fashion, going from worst in early January to first on June 12.

Will success spoil the Blues? Will heads swell? Did they train as hard in the offseason? Will they have the same resolve, resiliency, mental toughness that they displayed last season? The NHL is so balanced, the Central Division so stacked, even a slight dropoff could mean the difference between mounting a spirited title defense or being the ’07 Hurricanes or ’15 Kings.