ACKERMAN: The Blues are coming home

This Sunday there will be 19,000 diehard Blues fans who at some level have experienced the pain of being a Blues fan ... But this team feels different

Tom Ackerman
April 13, 2019 - 9:00 am

(Photo by Jason Halstead/Getty Images)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - When the Blues take the ice at Enterprise Center on Sunday night, up 2-0 against the Winnipeg Jets, they won't be alone.

An estimated 19,000 fans will be in the house, many waving towels in one hand with a beer in the other. They'll wear synchronized wristbands that will light up during pregame introductions. They'll sing the national anthem with Charles Glenn and end the last line with a hearty "BLUUUUUUUUUES!"

They'll scream at the Jets' Mark Scheifele and roar with every Jordan Binnington save. But they won't be alone, either.

Related: Sundqvist scores twice, Blues edge Jets 4-3 to take 2-0 lead

You see, each diehard Blues fan sporting the Note represents generations of hockey pain ... at some level. Heck, even if you're new at this, you experienced it this year. In early January, the Blues had the worst record in the NHL. Yet somehow, some way, interim (!) coach Craig Berube and his staff turned a nightmare into Stanley Cup dreams.

Yes, the Stanley Cup. That beautiful piece of hardware that has eluded St. Louis for, oh, 52 years.

We can tell you all about the highlights, if you'd like: Ronnie Schock's "Midnight Goal." Mike Crombeen in double overtime. Doug Wickenheiser's Monday Night Miracle. Craig Janney sweeping the Blackhawks. Ed Belfour breaking his stick.

But just as quickly, the heartbreak: Wickenheiser's team loses Game 7. Brett Hull and Wayne Gretzky fall to Steve Yzerman in '96. The President's Trophy winners lose in the first round. Bobby Orr leaps off his skates in the most iconic photograph in NHL history. Of course, it was against the Blues. And on and on.

This team, however, seems different. It's not just the interesting Jordan Binnington, who speaks volumes with his rock-solid play in net and never-nervous attitude.

It's the way they play together, especially defensively, that old-school Blues hockey of controlling the game and creating an advantage. This Blues team doesn't respond foolishly to illegal hits or other liberties taken by opponents. No, this is a team that is focused on winning together.

It's a good sign when your top line gets help. Oskar Sundqvist netted a couple of goals in Game 2. Oakville native Pat Maroon had one ... and played a good, heavy game.

Tony Twist won't be coming around the corner to bury a Jet in this series, but if he did, the roof would have to be bolted down tight at Enterprise. Winnipeg's direct hits on Ryan O'Reilly, who responded with the game-winning goal, were cheap and potentially damaging to a great player. That's over now, but it remains to be seen if there will be any carryover in Game 3.

The Blues are up 2-0. It's going to be crazy at 1401 Clark Ave.

The names of the past — and present — will be with them.

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