BOSTON (CBS) — Blues forward Zach Sanford may see his first action of the Stanley Cup Final in Saturday night’s Game 3 in St. Louis. If he does take the ice, he’ll be doing so against the team he grew up rooting for.
Sanford was born in Salem before moving to Manchester, New Hampshire, and grew up a huge Bruins fan. He recalls watching Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup Final run in his friends basement while he was a player at Pinkerton Academy in Derry.
“I watched every game growing up,” Sanford said in the St. Louis locker room Friday afternoon. “I was always a big Glenn Murray fan. Kind of random but a big shot and [a solid winger].”
Sanford played at Boston College for two years before joining the Washington Capitals in 2016 — the team that drafted him in the second round in 2013. He made their Opening Night roster but was traded midway through his first NHL season, sent to St. Louis as part of a package for veteran defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. In 73 career games with the Blues, Sanford has tallied 10 goals and 15 assists.
Though he didn’t play in the first two games of the series, Sanford was in Boston with the Blues, and got to see all the action under the lights — and many championship banners — at the TD Garden.
“It’s pretty weird, obviously. I mean, I saw those my whole life growing up and going to games, then being on the other side of it,” he said Friday. “But I’m not really a Bruins fan anymore. It’s time for us to get our own banners here.”
He wouldn’t say if he still had any Bruins gear at home, but Sanford does not have any Boston-themed ink on his body.
“No tattoos,” he said with a chuckle, “but that is a big Boston thing though.”
Sanford skated with St. Louis’ fourth line on Friday and made it sound like he’ll be replacing the suspended Oskar Sundqvist in Saturday night’s Game 3, though Blues coach Craig Berube would not confirm that Friday afternoon. Sanford hasn’t played in six weeks, playing three games in St. Louis’ opening round win over the Winnipeg Jets, but has stayed ready during his six-week layoff.
“There hasn’t been much going through my mind, just stay focused, stay ready and kind of keep it the same,” he said.
While he’s not happy that his teammate was suspended for Game 3, Sanford is excited to get his opportunity to play in the Stanley Cup Final. His family was at both games in Boston, and his mom and sister will be making the trip to St. Louis for Saturday night’s clash.
“It’s going to be awesome,” said Sanford. “A lot of fun and a lot of work. It’s going to be great to be out with the boys and be a part of this.”