In support of the No. 1 team in the NHL, thousands of St. Blues fans watched their team skate to a 4-1 win in Nashville.
Long known as one of the toughest spots to claim a road victory (especially on a Saturday night), Bridgestone Arena was void of it’s usual solid gold covering last night. The Blues “faithful” made their successful invasion known throughout the contest with cheers, chants and yells after each Blues tally, roughly equivalent to the volume of the Nashville Predators goal horn.
“This has always been one of the toughest buildings in the West to come to on a Saturday night. To see a lot of Blues sweaters was really gratifying,” St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock said. “I think we have a fierce following.”
The Blues began the game with a nearly ideal start as forward Patrik Berglund scored twice to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead early in the second period. From there, the visiting club ground out a win over the offensively challenged Predators club.
“It was amazing! It felt like a home game,” Berglund said. “It was amazing, and after I woke up from my nap I even heard ‘Let’s Go Blues’ from the bars down the street. That’s pretty cool when you’re waking up and going to get ready.”
While the number of fans wearing Blues memorabilia or yelling the team’s customary cheers is somewhat indisputable, the reason for the away team’s unusually high amount of support in the Music City was questioned by some.
“Any time a team is doing well in this league, you travel well. When the Blues weren’t doing so good you never saw any blue shirts out there. They’re the top team in the NHL, and they’re proud of what they’ve built up to this point,” said Predators head coach Barry Trotz. “It’s no different than the Blackhawks. I never saw any Blackhawks jerseys before, but then they build a good team and everybody wears their jerseys. That’s how pro sports work.”
While not as impressed with the support given to his opponent last night, Trotz has to be wowed by their results. The Blues are tracking toward the President’s Trophy (awarded to the NHL team with the most regular season points) and are racking up victories in all sorts of ways against a laundry list of opponents.
Many Predators fans left the game last night frustrated with their team’s performance on the ice, but were perhaps more annoyed with watching a gathering of St. Louis fans–bandwagon supporters or not–celebrate another victory and a five-game season sweep of Nashville.
It’s easy to be a fan of greatness and envious of those who have it.
And those two sentiments are what define the Blues and Predators rivalry right now.