In this look back at the greatest games in St. Louis Blues history, we take the time machine back to the year 1995 and a superstar in the middle of his great career. In the 90’s the Blues were defined by their number one player and NHL superstar Brett Hull and his sniper like shot. Hull’s abilities helped him establish himself as a separate entity from his father and earned him the nickname the Golden Brett.
The 1994-95 season was to be one of the best for the Blues as Stanley Cup winning coach Mike Keenan was lured away from New York along with 4 of his key players in the championship run. Coupled with Hull, Shannahan and Curtis Jospeh, the fans of the Blues were expecting a deep run into the playoffs. The regular season had its ups and downs but for the most part played to the script, none more so then the game on April 16th against Detroit.
April 16th was Easter Sunday and the Blues brass decided it would be a great day for a promotional giveaway, but they had no idea what kind of craziness that would bring. The Blues gave fans solid white ballcaps as they entered the arena and with it being against Detroit it was a packed house.
The game got under way and as with any Blues/Wings game it was physical from the start. Detroit got on the board first but Hull would have no problem quickly erasing that lead. His first goal would come while the Blues were shorthanded, followed quickly by a power plat goal and just like that the Blues had a 2-1 lead. Fans were amped up and the arena was shaking already and yet more was to come.
On their second power play of the first period Hull would electrify the crowd with his third goal, the natural hat trick. As soon as the puck beat Mike Vernon the inevitable happened as fans started tossing their hats to the ice in celebration. What officials didn’t count on was the mass amount of hats that would actually fall to the ice. The hats kept coming and coming and when all was said a rough total of 5,000 hats had been tossed to the ice.
The Blues took a 3-1 lead into the second period but could not hold it as Jon Casey had taken over for Curtis Joseph at the start of the second. The Wings made it 3-3 before the Blues could respond with an Al MacInnis goal to regain the lead. Late in the third Detroit tied it again before Hull did something he had yet to do in his career.
With the score notted at 4, Hull found a crease in the slot and slid into his favorite scoring position. After taking a feed from the boards, Hull fired a laser past Vernon for his first 4 goal game in his career. The crowd roared and more hats came to the ice as those who had hung onto theirs felt they just had to throw them now. The Blues carried the 5-4 lead into the intermission.
Once again the Blues could not hold a lead as Detroit tied it at 5 in the third. It wasn’t Brett Hull that won the game, though, but fan favorite Rick Zombo who notched the winning goal. If not for Hull’s efforts in the game the Blues would not have been in a position to win the game though.
The game, now known as the Hat Day Game, was one of many bright spots in the regular season for the Blues but those feelings didn’t last into the playoffs. After taking the first game in their series versus Vancouver the Blues lost the next two and never regained the series lead. Even after an 8-2 drubbing of the Canucks on their ice in Game 6 the Blues could not carry the momentum all the way through. They lost game 7 5-3, as Kirk MacLean turned aside a flurry of shots to take the series.
Next time we take a look not at a game but a moment in a game that still resonates in many fans hearts including this writers.