For the first time this season, the Blues get a visit from the Nashville Predators. Since the Preds came into the league, the two teams have been pretty evenly matched. Two teams that play each other so closely, well, they build a rivalry. Factor in that Nashville’s just a quick four and a half drive away from St. Louis, and you have a recipe for two teams that don’t care for each other much.
The Blues/Blackhawks rivalry has traditionally hogged the spotlight, and with good reason. Historically, there’s a lot of hatred there. Like, 53 years of hatred. The Preds just have 21 years, and the first few seasons they were an expansion team, so pfft. It’s much more fun to beat up on an expansion team than to be the new expansion team on the block. Then, as time went on and the Blues were awful in the mid-2000s, the Predators got their wins in - 14 wins in a row, to be exact. Right now the Blues are riding a four game win streak, so maybe the momentum has swung back the other direction.
Certainly, with the Blues winning the Stanley Cup, the Predators’ relationship to St. Louis has changed. It reminds me of the little brother/big brother relationship that the Blues and Blackhawks had for so many years. One team had the Cups, and one team wanted them. Sustained success came to the Blackhawks in the 2010s with three Cups in quick succession, and the Blues’ first Stanley Cup championship hasn’t done much to change the back-and-forth between Blues fans and Hawks fans (save for maybe limiting their joke selection). The Blues are still new to this whole championship thing, but they have one. The Predators visited the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 and lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but they plowed through both the Backhawks and Blues in a very convincing fashion to get there. The Preds had a taste of success and they want back there. They don’t want to be the Central Division’s middle brother anymore.
This is why tonight’s game is so special. Yes, the Preds have gotten off to a less than ideal start to the season - they’re currently mired in a four game losing streak. But they’ve been such a strong team for so long that they need to take that extra step and they know that they can. The Preds play hard when they play the Blues, and they usually bring out the best in St. Louis.
Who wants to worry about old rivalries when you can keep building new ones? I strongly suggest snagging tickets to tonight’s game off of StubHub, heading downtown, and having some fun with our friends from Nashville who make the drive up.
And then I suggest getting someone from the Metro Nashville area to buy you tickets for Monday night’s game - go on and return the favor.
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