St. Louis Blues Ready to Go to Battle Against Longtime Rival Detroit Red Wings


St. Louis Blues Game 20/82: Saturday, November 21, 7:00 PM vs. Detroit Red Wings

The St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings rivalry was one of the greatest of the 1990s and early 2000s.

It featured plenty of highly-skilled action from stars of the day like

Keith Tkachuk


Steve Yzerman


Sergei Fedorov


Brendan Shanahan


Brett Hull

(both of whom on both sides),  as well as tense fights involving guys like

Tony Twist


Reed Low


Darren McCarty

, and

Bob Probert

. For a fan whose formative years came in the 1990s (like, let’s say,

Paul Stastny


Chris Butler

, neither of whom is on the Blues’ active roster at the moment), the Red Wings might be a more hated foe than the Chicago Blackhawks.

Since the NHL realigned its conferences before the 2013-14 season, though, the Blues-Red Wings rivalry has cooled off significantly. That cooling had already begun with the Red Wings’ regression from a perennial division-winner to a middling, back-end playoff team during the start of the 2010s. With the two teams now playing each other just twice per season, it’s extremely difficult to recreate the same type of tension between the two sides that once made the rivalry one of hockey’s best.

This year, Detroit faces the possibility of missing out on the playoffs. They’re currently in third place in the Atlantic Division at 10-8-2, and other than the continually-effective Henrik Zetterberg and rookie first-rounder Dylan Larkin, the Wings haven’t really gotten spectacular play out of anyone in particular. That’s a far cry from the Red Wings teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s that had so much playmaking ability.

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As much prestige as the Red Wings organization has and will always have across the NHL, this game is one that the Blues realistically should see as a “can’t-lose” on the schedule, particularly because of the challenge that playing without guys like Paul Stastny, Jaden Schwartz, and Colton Parayko has brought on a nightly basis recently. While the Blues picked up a win in their Thursday game against Buffalo, it must be considered that they needed to go to a shootout to beat the 8-9-2 Sabres, who are currently seventh in their division. Before that, the Blues lost to a 8-13 Blue Jackets team that is arguably the league’s worst, and they got shut down a week ago by a Blackhawks team that is defending a Stanley Cup title, but frankly has been quite mediocre at 11-7-2 thus far.

The good news for the Blues is that they’re expected to get rookie Colton Parayko, their most dynamic offensive defenseman, back in the lineup on Saturday after he missed the past two games with a lower-body injury. Forward Scottie Upshall will return to the lineup and be placed in a top-nine role following Saturday’s demotion of Jeremy Welsh, who played in two games this week after being recalled last Sunday night. Ryan Reaves will remain a healthy scratch against Detroit as he tries to fight his way (no pun intended) back into the lineup.

Jake Allen will once again get the start in net. Allen, who at this point has a pretty clear stranglehold on the starting goalie job, earned the first star last game after stopping 32 of 34 Sabres shots and shutting them down in the shootout.

Here’s how Saturday’s lineup is expected to look:

Alexander Steen-Jori LehteraVladimir Tarasenko

Robby FabbriScott GomezTroy Brouwer

Magnus PaajarviDavid BackesScottie Upshall

Steve OttKyle BrodziakDmitrij Jaskin

Jay BouwmeesterAlex Pietrangelo

Carl GunnarssonColton Parayko

Joel EdmundsonKevin Shattenkirk

Jake Allen

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