Both the Blackhawks and Blues describe their matchups against one another as having a playoff-like atmosphere. But if this was in fact a postseason series, the defending Stanley Cup champions would be two games from elimination as they suffered their second loss of the season to St. Louis on Thursday night.
As each game passes, the rivalry between these two teams continues to build, but unlike the shortened 2012-13 campaign, the Blackhawks aren't having as much success against their Central Division foes.
The Blues, on the other hand, are finding plenty of motivation against the Blackhawks, stemming from the emotions that come with their growing rivalry.
"It fuels us, I think it fuels (the Blackhawks) when they come to our building," St. Louis forward David Backes said following his team's 3-2 shootout victory. "I think they've got an extra jump. And I've said it before, with the anthem in here, if you can't get up for a game that's being played, especially as an American, then shame on your. For me, the building helps you get a little extra energy and hopefully put on a good performance and help the team win."
Thursday was another case of the Blackhawks displaying a strong start and a weak finish. Brandon Pirri recorded his first NHL goal to get the Blackhawks on the board early, but the Blues responded quickly to each of their opponent's goals.
Despite failing to obtain a lead in regulation, the Blues made a final push to get the game into extra time as T.J. Oshie went on to score their lone goal in the shootout.
"That's probably not the best way to try to win a game in here is getting behind, (the Blackhawks) seem to dial it up and they got one and they come at you even harder," Backes said. "But we showed a lot of character and had a good push back and turned it up a little bit."
The Blues' 5-1 record ranks them second in their division, and having two early wins against the defending champions doesn't hurt their confidence, either.
"Yeah, but we're only six games in, so we've got a lot of work to do," Backes continued. "There's still 76 games left, so they've got a lot of games left, we've got a lot of games left. I think with the new playoff format, we might be seeing a lot of these guys."
But before they see more of the Blues, the Blackhawks have some work to do.
Coach Joel Quenneville described this team's performance on Thursday night as being "awful," and the Blackhawks know that in order to put on as impressive of a performance as they did last season, they'll have to move past their low-scoring games.
“I don’t think we’re scoring a lot of goals right now," defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "We’re having a tough time finding the back of the net, but with that being said we’ve got to muscle these games out. Win them 2-0, 2-1, 1-0. That’s the mindset we have to have when we’re not scoring goals.”