Top 10 Red Wings Rivals: #6 St Louis Blues
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part 4 of 10 in a series on rivalries. Red Wings 101 will count down the top ten current rivals of the Detroit Red Wings. Fans are encouraged to comment with memories from past games that they may have seen in the past.)
The first Central Division team to make an appearance on the list (and second from the old Norris Division). Without further ado: St. Louis BluesThe Blues and Red Wings did not really become rivals until 1981, when the Blues moved from the Smythe Division to the Norris Division. During the days of the Norris, both teams combined for five division titles. When they moved to the Central Division in 1993, the two rivals combined for 15 titles. The Blues are the only current team in the Central other than the Red Wings to win the division multiple times. The teams have also met seven times in the playoffs, with the Red Wings winning five of seven playoff series.
When the Blues and Red Wings meet in the regular season, fans are assured to see a physical game. There have been plenty of fights in past games, including a lot of fights in a 2003 game where former Red Wing and then assistant coach Joe Kocur threw a chair on the ice (a la Bob Knight), and Jimmy Howard getting into a skirmish with multiple Blues’ players at the end of a game this past January. There were also two incidents this past season that drew the ire of Brendan Shanahan; Blues forward Chris Stewart was suspended three games for boarding Niklas Kronwall last November, and Blues defenseman Ian Cole was also suspended three games for an illegal check to the head of Justin Abdelkader.
DEFINING MOMENT: When the two teams met in the 1996 Conference Semifinals, the Blues gave the Red Wings all they could handle. The series would come down to a Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena. The game would end up being a goaltending duel between St. Louis’s John Casey and Detroit’s Chris Osgood. Neither goalie allowed a goal through three periods of regulation and one of overtime. Then in the second overtime, Blues captain Wayne Gretzky lost control of a puck, which was stolen by Detroit captain Steve Yzerman. Yzerman fired a shot from the blue line past Casey for a 1-0 Red Wings victory. The goal was Yzerman’s first (and only) playoff overtime goal.
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