Speaking as a hockey fan who attends games regularly at Madison Square Garden, I must say that the Scottrade Center in St. Louis is a fantastic atmosphere. With fans coming out to support the Blues, whether they are playing the Blackhawks or the Panthers, they provide the team with a home-ice advantage only matched by a few other teams in the NHL. Of course this list will be generalized, mostly due to the fact that the situations are purely speculative, but here is my list of the top five home games for the 2012-2013 St. Louis Blues (in chronological order).
Thursday, October 18. Detroit Red Wings-
The 2012 home-opener should be a raucus affair, with the archrival Red Wings coming to town. This matchup features the top two finishers in the Central Division last year, as the Wings took 4 out of 6 from the Blues last season, going unbeaten at home and stealing one in Scottrade. Surely, emotions will also be running high for both teams, as Detroit continues to transition to life after Nicklas Lindstrom, and St. Louis opens an arena filled with fans whose expectations have not been this high since the 2001 season.
Tuesday, October 30. Los Angeles Kings-
It will be a fascinating early-season matchup, as the Blues look to exact revenge over the team that swept them out of the conference semi-finals. Even further, it will be a good benchmark for St. Louis to see how they fair against the depending Stanley Cup Champions and class of the Western Conference. Plus, I’m sure a few of the Blueshirts will look to get physical with Kings’ captain Dustin Brown, making this game more important than just three points.
Wednesday, December 12. Minnesota Wild-
Another intriguing early-season game features the up-start Wild, with newfound flash, against a nitty-gritty Blues team. I know that I’m interested in seeing how much Minnesota improved with the signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and whether the Blues defense can handle the elite scoring line of Parise, Heatley, and Koivu. Don’t quote me on this, but could also be a possible preview of a first round playoff series (2 v 7, 3 v 6).
Tuesday, April 7. Nashville Predators-
Along with the Blues, Nashville was definitely a surprise team in the regular season last year, finishing third in the west in points (104) and gaining the 4th seed in the Western Conference. Nashville also toppled the Red Wings in five games in the first round of the playoffs before being ousted by Phoenix in the semis. Although Nashville might struggle early with the loss of Suter and other offensive role players, I still believe that at this point in the season, the Preds will be a playoff team still in the hunt for a division title. This matchup should pit two rivals at the top of their game, with playoff seeding and bragging rights on the line.
Saturday, April 13. Chicago Blackhawks-
No need to tell you how big this game is, but I will anyway. The regular season finale against the division rival ‘Hawks comes on the heels of a trip to Chicago’s United Center only a night before, a home-and-home which may be pivotal in deciding the division crown. The Blues dropped four of six to Chicago last season, and are looking to topple the Blackhawks as the last Central Division team to win the Stanley Cup. Hopefully, this game still means something in regards to the standings, but without a doubt this matchup will be a high intensity, physical contest whether they are locked into their seeds or not.
Be sure to comment if there are any other home match-ups you are looking forward to! For tickets to any regular season Blues’ game, hit the “tickets” tab at the top of the page, or click HERE.
Tags: Central Division Chicago Blackhawks Dany Heatley Detroit Red Wings Los Angeles Kings Mikko Koivu Minnesota WIld Nashville Predators Ryan Suter Scottrade Center St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Zach Parise