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Blues make final visit to Joe Louis Arena

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

DETROIT - With the exception of Scottrade Center or The Old Arena, the St. Louis Blues have played more games at Joe Louis Arena than any other rink in the National Hockey League.

But nothing can last forever. Not surprising statistics like that one, not the good times nor the bad ones, and certainly not legendary old hockey barns.

Barring a meeting in the Stanley Cup Final in June, Wednesday's game will be the last time the Blues get to play at the 37-year-old Joe Louis Arena, which opened its doors in 1979 but will be demolished this summer after construction wraps up on the nearby $730-million Little Caesar's Arena, which will become the Red Wings' new home beginning with the 2017-18 season.

When the Blues walk into The Joe for Wednesday's game, they might pause for a minute to take a look around and take it all in, to see hockey the way it used to be before giant high-definition scoreboards, plush luxury suites or top-notch accommodations. Instead, Joe Louis Arena has wooden benches for the players and red and creme colored seats for the spectators. It also has low ceilings, hot water that doesn't always stay hot, and the stench of decades-old spilled beer.

It's true The Joe hasn't always been kind to the Blues - in fact, there have been enough heartbreaking moments there that most long-time supporters of the Blue Note will be happy to see it reduced to rubble. But with further inspection, there are a handful of memorable Blues moments that have occurred at Joe Louis Arena.

Here are a few worth mentioning:

Video: Blues memories at Joe Louis Arena

 

Dec. 27, 1979

The Blues played the Red Wings in the first-ever hockey game at Joe Louis Arena. Brian Sutter scored the first NHL goal in the building, while Bernie Federko also scored to help the Blues earn a 3-2 victory in Detroit.

 

April 8, 1984

Jorgen Pettersen recorded a hat trick, with the third goal coming 2:42 into overtime, to lift the Blues to a series-clinching 3-2 victory over the Red Wings in Game 4. The Blues won the first-round best-of-5 series in four games, ousting the Red Wings in their first-ever playoff series at The Joe.

 

Jan. 25, 1991

Brett Hull scored two goals in a 9-4 victory over Detroit at Joe Louis Arena to become just the fifth player in NHL history to score 50 goals in 50 games or fewer. The game was the Blues' 49th of the season.

 

Oct. 29, 2003

The Blues scored three times in the first period en route to a 6-5 victory against the Red Wings. Doug Weight recorded a hat trick while Dallas Drake chipped in with five assists in the game.

 

April 3, 2009

David Backes scored a career-high four goals, including the go-ahead goal with 4:07 left in the game to help the Blues to a 5-4 victory over the Red Wings. The win moved the Blues from ninth to seventh in the Western Conference standings. The club would ride the momentum of the win to later clinch their first playoff berth in five years.

 

March 30, 2011

The Blues got big contributions from several unlikely sources, including two goals from Chris Porter and one each from B.J. Crombeen, Matt D'Agostini, Cam Janssen and Roman Polak in a 10-3 victory over the Red Wings in front of a sell-out crowd of 20,066 at The Joe. Until that game, the Red Wings hadn't given up 10 goals in 18 years.

 

Feb. 13, 2013

Jake Allen made his first career start in the NHL, stopping 15 of 18 shots at Joe Louis Arena to help the Blues to a 4-3 overtime win against the Red Wings. Allen would go on to win eight of his first nine career starts.

 

What will Wednesday night have in store? Can the Blues create one more lasting memory at The Joe?

We'll find out Wednesday beginning at 7 p.m. Tune in live on NBC Sports Network, the NBC Sports App or on KMOX 1120 AM.

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