St. Louis Blues have completed a most improbable journey and wiped out decades of misery by beating the Boston Bruins to capture their first Stanley Cup and set off a celebration that was 52 years in the making.
The Blues won 4-1 at the Bruins to clinch the best-of-seven series and end the longest wait in National Hockey League history for a team to win their first championship.
The victory capped a remarkable turnaround for the Blues, who were last in the NHL in early January.
"What an unbelievable year," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said.
"I don't even know what to say. Where we were to where we are now . . . I've never been more proud to wear this jersey with this group of guys. It's unbelievable."
The championship was a long-awaited one for the Blues - who reached the Stanley Cup Final in each of their first three years from 1968-70 but were swept each time, including by the Bruins in 1970.
That loss tortured the Blues for decades as it produced one of the most iconic photos in hockey history - that of Boston's Bobby Orr flying through the air with his arms raised in victory after scoring the Cup-clinching goal in overtime.
Since that defeat, St. Louis have made the playoffs in all but nine seasons yet have had to wait until 2019 to make it count.
They got all the scoring they would need in a late three-minute span of the first period, and added two more in the third period, while rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington was sensational in the win.
Blues forward Ryan O'Reilly, who set a franchise record with the most points in one playoff year with 23, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the post-season MVP.
"I was getting bounces. It was amazing . . . I thought we created every night. It was just amazing," O'Reilly, who scored his team's opening goal in the past four games of the Stanley Cup final, said.
The Bruins, who had never before hosted a game seven of a Stanley Cup final, created numerous openings but only managed to end rookie Binnington's shut-out bid with a late goal.
"It's an empty feeling," Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said.
"Someone had to win and someone had to lose and we came out on the wrong side of it."