Preview: Blackhawks at Blues
The defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues have been a streaky bunch lately and hope the trend continues when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. St. Louis snapped a three-game slide with a 4-2 win over Vegas on Thursday and a victory Saturday would make it 22 consecutive contests with at least two straight wins or losses.
“You gotta change the wind in your sails somehow,” Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington told reporters Thursday after stopping 27 shots. “However it is: just competing in practice, doing the right thing. And hopefully it’ll come around, right? You can’t go too out of your way. Just stick to your game plan and believe in yourself and eventually it’ll come around.” Chicago rides a three-game losing streak after a 5-2 setback at Arizona on Thursday and is 2-5-1 in its last eight contests with neither win coming in regulation. "We're giving up really easy chances and we're having to work hard for ours, and it's not a good combination," Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner told reporters Thursday after yielding two breakaway goals. "We're giving up way too much, and it's a hard climate to defend in right now for everyone." St. Louis prevailed 4-0 on Dec. 2 in the first of four meetings this season behind 38 saves from Jake Allen.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCS Chicago Plus, FS Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (12-14-6): Patrick Kane leads the club with 14 goals and 36 points but has only three assists in six December games after a November-long point streak produced 11 goals and 24 points. Alex DeBrincat, Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad (pointless this month) have eight goals apiece with DeBrincat and Kubalik combining for five in December. Dylan Strome scored his seventh goal of the season Thursday but along with Kane was a minus-3 while DeBrincat was a minus-4.
ABOUT THE BLUES (19-8-6): Oskar Sundqvist returned after missing six games with an ankle injury and had a goal and an assist, giving him 10 points (six goals) in his last 10 contests. Brayden Schenn has a team-most 14 goals but only one in his last seven games while David Perron (club-high 30 points) has one of his 12 scores in the past eight contests. Jaden Schwartz has three of his nine goals in the last six games, including one against Chicago on Dec. 2.
1. St. Louis is the only team in the league which hasn't lost in regulation when scoring first (13-0-4).
2. The Blackhawks have scored one power-play goal in each of their last five games with DeBrincat and Strome recording two apiece while the Blues have killed 31-of-34 penalties in their last 13 games.
3. St. Louis C Tyler Bozak's next game will be his 700th in the NHL.
PREDICTION: Blues 3, Blackhawks 2