Preview: Blues at Blackhawks
The St. Louis Blues have bolstered their lead atop the Central Division due in large part to their sterling performance away from the Gateway City. The reigning Stanley Cup champions boast a 9-2-3 road record heading into Monday's contest against the streaking Patrick Kane and the skidding Chicago Blackhawks.
St. Louis returned from a 2-0-1 road trip by boosting its winning streak to three games with a 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday, a game that was highlighted by Australian Nathan Walker and defenseman Justin Faulk scoring their respective first goals of the season. Jaden Schwartz capped the scoring late in the third period on an assist from David Perron, who extended his point streak to seven games (three goals, five assists). While the 31-year-old Perron's point streak is impressive, it pales in comparison to the 15-game run (11 goals, 13 assists) by Kane - although the NHL's Third Star of the Month for November wasn't too thrilled with his performance in Saturday's 7-3 rout by Colorado. "I wasn't very good (Saturday night)," Kane told reporters. "I have to be better going into the next game. Obviously, (it's) a huge game against St. Louis coming up at home (Monday night). The Stanley Cup champs are coming into our building so I have to be better for us."
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network, FS Midwest (St. Louis), NBCS Chicago
ABOUT THE BLUES (17-5-6): Ivan Barbashev scored in his second straight contest on Saturday to extend his point streak to three games (two goals, four assists). Fellow forward Ryan O'Reilly set up a pair of goals to increase his point streak to four games (one goal, five assists) for St. Louis, which recorded its 10th win in November for the third time in franchise history on Saturday. The reigning Selke and Conn Smythe Trophy recipient blitzed the Blackhawks for six points (one goal, five assists) in five encounters last season.
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (10-11-5): Chicago fell for the fifth time in six outings (1-4-1) in horrific fashion, surrendering seven straight goals on Saturday to push its total to 12 allowed during its home-and-home sweep against the Avalanche. "It's embarrassing, we have to turn it around," goaltender Robin Lehner told reporters after yielding five goals on 14 shots before being chased into the second period on Saturday. "We have to wake up. I hate losing. I think a lot of us don't like losing. It's nothing wrong to hold each other accountable. It's nothing personal. It's not a bad thing." Captain Jonathan Toews has notched an assist in consecutive contests heading into his 900th career NHL game.
1. Two-time Norris Trophy recipient Duncan Keith is considered day-to-day with a groin injury for Chicago.
2. St. Louis D Robert Bortuzzo is eligible to return after serving a four-game suspension for cross-checking Nashville F Viktor Arvidsson on Nov. 23.
3. Blackhawks RW Alex DeBrincat, who scored 41 times last season, is mired in an 11-game goal drought.
PREDICTION: Blues 4, Blackhawks 2