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Blues, Red Wings Renew Rivalry

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - It’s been awhile, but the Blues and Detroit Red Wings will renew an old rivalry tonight at Scottrade Center (7 p.m., FSMW, KMOX).

The teams have met 275 times in the regular season, which is second only to the Blues and Blackhawks, which have met 293 times.

Since the Red Wings moved to the Eastern Conference, the teams now meet just twice a season.

“It’s a little bit different, but there’s still that rivalry,” said Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. “We still know what kind of team they are. Some things don’t change, and there’s certainly some fun memories of playing against these guys over the years.”

While it’s impossible to compile all of the great Blues / Red Wings moments in one blog, here are a few that stand out over the years.

Jan. 23, 1993
The Blues beat the Red Wings 4-3, but the goals and the score aren’t the most memorable part. That belongs to the brawl that started with Kelly Chase and Jim Cummins and ended with goalies Curtis Joseph and Tim Cheveldae throwing punches at center ice. The moment featured Ken Wilson’s now iconic “Here Comes Chevaldae” call. You can see it again on YouTube by clicking here.

April 16, 1995
The Blues gave away hats to all fans who attended the game at Kiel Center. Brett Hull delivered a natural hat trick against Red Wings goalie Mike Vernon, and then added another goal for good measure, in a four-goal performance. More than 5,000 hats came flying to the ice after Hull’s third goal, and the Blues would eventually win 6-5 thanks to fan-favorite Rick Zombo, who scored the game-winner.

May 16, 1996
The Blues and Red Wings needed Game 7 to decide the Western Conference Semifinals. With goaltender Grant Fuhr injured in the first round, Jon Casey filled in admirably for the Blues, who were looking for their first trip to the Western Conference Final in 10 years. The game wouldn’t be decided until double overtime, when Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman scored a heartbreaking goal from the blue line to end the series. “I hated Detroit growing up,” said St. Louis native and Blues defenseman Chris Butler. “That Steve Yzerman shot is forever in-grained in my memory. That picture from behind the goal, the slap shot, it ruined every good feeling I ever had towards the Detroit Red Wings.”

April 2, 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 to catapult the team into the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Thanks in large part to this victory, the Blues surged into the postseason for the first time in five years.

March 30, 2011
The Blues pile 10 goals on the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena en route to a 10-3 win. It was the first time the Red Wings gave up 10 goals in a game since 1993. Chris Stewart, Vladimir Sobotka and Chris Porter each had three points. “Ten goals in Joe Louis Arena…to score five goals it’s a hope and a prayer,” Backes said. “We had a few things clicking that night.”

Jan. 19, 2013
After an NHL lockout postponed the start of the Blues season until January, Vladimir Tarasenko made his NHL debut and scored on his first two shots. The Blues would eventually win the game 6-0 in front of a packed house at Scottrade Center. WATCH

Back to tonight, Detroit is wrapping up a six-game road trip. The Red Wings are 23-11-9 (55 points) and rank third in the Atlantic Division.

“It’s a lot of the same stuff. They’re solid in their checking, they’re solid in the team game,” said Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. “The score may be close, but the game’s not close when we watch them play. They control the game and it’s been the same for years. They play a certain way, which is very effective.”

“I think it will still be cranked up, but the prominence of how many times we play them maybe lessens that a little bit,” said Backes. “My first six years in the league, we played them five or six times a year and we really built that animosity towards each other…It should be a heck of a game tonight.”

BLUE NOTES

Brian Elliott will start between the pipes. Since joining the Blues in 2011-12, he ranks second among all goaltenders with a .785 win percentage at home.

The Blues have won three of the last four games against the Red Wings. Against the Eastern Conference this season, the Blues are 10-3-1.

Jincy Dunne, a St. Louis native who clinched a gold medal Monday for Team USA at the U18 Women’s World Championships, will drop the ceremonial first puck tonight.

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