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Blues shine in coldest game in NHL history

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The 2022 NHL Winter Classic was a night to remember for a multitude of reasons. For the fan without a rooting interest, it will be remembered for the -10 degree Fahrenheit temperatures that made the game the coldest the league has seen in its outdoor game series. For fans of the Minnesota Wild, it will be remembered as the night the NHL spotlight was on the “State of Hockey” and a celebration of Minnesota’s rich hockey tradition. For those that are fans of the St. Louis Blues, it will be remembered as the night the Blues put the league back on notice.

While the final score was a thrilling 6-4, the game was not as close throughout as the scoreline might suggest. The Blues set an NHL outdoor record with five goals in the second period, including two goals and four points from Jordan Kyrou, which is also a Winter Classic record. After David Perron opened the scoring in the first period, Minnesota answered right back with a goal of their own and it was 1-1 after the opening twenty minutes. Along with the standout performance from Kyrou, St. Louis also netted goals from Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Barbashev, and Torey Krug in the second period to chase off Wild starting goaltender Cam Talbot. The Wild went on to dominate play in the third period as they were desperate to bring home a winner for the sold-out Target Field crowd, but the Blues were able to hang on and register their second win in as many tries in the NHL’s marquee regular-season event.

Back in the spotlight

The past few years could be seen as the golden era for the Blues. The team hosted the 2017 edition of the Winter Classic at Busch Stadium in what was a resounding success for both the team and the city. 2019 saw the Blues finally bring home their first Stanley Cup title and 2020 saw the NHL bring its All-Star Game to the Enterprise Center in St. Louis. Needless to say, the league’s spotlight has been on the Blues more so in the last five years than arguably any stretch in the team’s history, and that continued Saturday night in Minneapolis.

With much of the talk heading into the game revolving around the frigid temperatures, the team arrived in style in a video that went viral of them entering Target Field in shorts and flip-flops and looking more like they were heading for the beach rather than an NHL game. If you can say anything about this Blues team, it’s that they don’t shy away when the spotlight is on them; they embrace the shine and have fun with it. With the entire hockey world fixated on this game, the Blues reminded the rest of the league that they did win it all the last time there was a full-length NHL season and that they are primed to go on another run again this year.

Looking at the result and what it means in the immediate future, the Blues find themselves holding sole possession of first place in the division and second overall in the Western Conference. After battling injuries and COVID issues for the past two months, the team is almost 100% healthy as we begin the new year. With the depth, this team has both upfront and on the back-end, along with steady goaltending from Jordan Binnington down the stretch, it’s not hard to imagine this team holding onto that first place spot for the stretch run of the season.

The Blues were originally scheduled to play the Wild in the Winter Classic in January 2021. However, due to the pandemic shortened season, the event was postponed until 2022 and it was more than worth the wait for everyone who bleeds blue. It’s hard to imagine a better start to the new year than the show St. Louis put on in Minnesota and could be a sign for another banner year for the Note.

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