At the beginning of the hockey season, I had a fantasy where the season would end with Blues beating the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup, now that the teams are in opposite conferences. The fantasy included a Game 7 winner by Alexander Steen in double overtime at Scottrade Center. But isn’t it like the Red Wings to mess things up? They have been messing up the Blues’ lives for years.
If the playoffs were to start today, Detroit would not even be in!
On one hand, as a long-suffering Blues’ fan, that would be gratifying. On the other hand, beating Detroit to win Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first time in franchise history would be the ultimate.
I remember watching a playoff game between the Blues and Redwings in 1998 in which Detroit knocked off the Blues 6-1 to win the series 4-2. In that game, Darren McCarty scored while skating up the ice with a Blues’ player on his back. I thought to myself, “There is no way the Blues are ever going to beat the Wings. Not when they score like that.”
They had the talented players of Steve Yzerman and Sergei Federov, and you had to be honest, they were a thing of beauty to watch. But the when Detroit would get production from McCarty, Kirk Maltby, Bob Rouse, and Kris Draper, the Blues never stood a chance. Those Blues teams were nothing to sneeze at either mind you. The names of Hull, MacInnis, Pronger, and Fuhr were on the back of jerseys.
The most frustrating part about those days was that the Blues would outshoot the Red Wings 63-8 (OK, I made that part up, but just go with it), but Detroit would beat the Blues 5-2. It would seem like the Blues would get a barrage of 10 shots off without scoring, the Red Wings would skate down the ice, pass it around a couple of times, and score a junk goal. While the Yzerman and Ferderov Days are long gone, this is still the same franchise that won a record 23-consecutive home games just two years ago.
Suffice it say, those days are over. The Red Wings have been decimated by injuries, including Jimmie Howard leaving midway though the 2nd period last night.
It was almost painful to watch last night’s 4-1 win in Detroit. The Blues win comes just in time. After having lost two consecutive on home ice, and feelings of maybe the Blues are going to tank, a win like this was much needed. And, when Magnus Paajarvi, Barret Jackman, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Jay Bouwmeester lead the way, it makes it that much sweeter.
Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves for the win.
The Blues are back on the road tonight taking on the New Jersey Devils. That will be followed by games in New York against the Rangers (Thursday) and the Islanders (Saturday).