Game 7 between the Stars and Blues in St. Louis on Tuesday night was something of an instant classic -- a crazy game that featured wild sequences and plot points that eventually led us to double overtime. In the end, it sort of felt right that a hometown boy came through as the hero.
It was Blues forward and St. Louis native Pat Maroon who stepped up with the golden goal nearly 86 minutes into the game, bringing the entire city to its feet and nearly blowing the roof off of the home arena. After a puck struck the post and bounced off the back of Stars goalie Ben Bishop, Maroon was there to clean up the rebound and put it in to seal a 2-1 Blues win and punch their ticket to the Western Conference finals.
It's probably safe to say that it's the biggest and most satisfying goal Maroon has ever scored in his career, and him being the guy to get the game-winner was a pretty emotional affair.
A few years ago, Maroon -- then with the Oilers -- scored a goal as a visitor in St. Louis while his young son was in attendance watching from the crowd. During an interview after the game, Maroon saw the replay of his son cheering and got emotional while discussing how difficult it is to spend so much time away from his family during the season. It was an incredibly tough reminder of the human element that often gets overlooked in sports.
Fast-forward a few years later and the 31-year-old veteran is now in his first season with the Blues. After becoming a free agent last summer, Maroon took less money on a one-year deal in order to come home and be able to play in front of his family.
On Tuesday night, his young son was in the crowd to watch Dad become the hero. This time, it was the son who found himself in tears.
It was an incredibly cool full-circle moment for Maroon and his family, and it's one they likely won't forget for a long, long time. But it wasn't just Maroon's family that was ready to fully embrace him after his heroics. It seemed everyone wanted a piece of the big forward, from his coach to actor Jon Hamm.
Unfortunately, for every feel-good playoff story, there's also a heartbreaker on the other side. Stars goalie Ben Bishop is also a St. Louis native and he was well on his way to becoming the Game 7 hero for Dallas if his team was able to come out on the winning side.
The Stars got pinned in their own end for almost the entire night -- shots were 31-4, STL, in the final 40 minutes of regulation -- and Bishop made a career-high 52 saves to keep his team in the game up until that double-OT dagger. He became just the fifth goalie in NHL history to have 50-plus stops in a playoff Game 7.
Bishop's family was also in attendance and it seemed like a much less fun night for them.