Preview: Blackhawks at Blues
The St. Louis Blues elected to stand pat at the NHL trade deadline, and perhaps for good reason after piecing together four straight strong defensive performances to strengthen their position atop the Western Conference. The Blues bid to record their fifth consecutive victory on Tuesday when they open a three-game homestand against the Chicago Blackhawks.
St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong elected to essentially play with the cards he's been dealt for the second straight season at the trade deadline, save for acquiring Marco Scandella from Montreal last week in the wake of fellow defenseman Jay Bouwmeester's cardiac episode. "(The players) surely made it where we weren't going to subtract for the team," Armstrong said of his reasoning for standing pat on Monday. "The news on Jay last week and getting Scandella in was to support that group, but they've earned the right to stay together. We're top in the West." Central Division cellar-dwelling Chicago adopted a seller's mindset after dropping eight of its last 10 games (2-6-2) heading into the trade deadline. The Blackhawks sent defenseman Erik Gustafsson to Calgary for a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft on Monday and shuffled Robin Lehner to Vegas for fellow goaltender Malcolm Subban, defenseman Slava Demin and a 2020 second-round selection.
TIME: 8 p.m. ET. TV: NBC Sports Network
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (27-27-8): Corey Crawford, who permitted eight goals on 68 shots in a pair of losses against St. Louis in December, fell to 6-11-2 in the first three months of the season before posting a 5-6-1 record over January and February. "We've been getting great goaltending all year and can't complain at all about the performance night in and night out from both the guys," Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said. "I think Corey particularly, as the season has gone on, it feels like he's gotten sharper and sharper, and this last stretch of games he's been excellent." Veteran defenseman Duncan Keith has set up four goals during his season-best three-game assist streak and resides one tally shy of 100 for his career.
ABOUT THE BLUES (36-17-10): St. Louis answered yielding 19 goals during a five-game losing skid (0-3-2) by outscoring the opposition 13-2 during its last four contests, with Jordan Binnington turning aside 63 of 64 shots to win his last three starts. "I think it's important we find ways to win. Stuff's not always going to go your way," said the 26-year-old Binnington, who overcame a rough start to win his lone career encounter with Chicago on Dec. 14. Reigning Selke and Conn Smythe Trophy recipient Ryan O'Reilly set up a goal in that contest and has eight of his team-leading 43 assists in his last 10 games overall.
1. Chicago LW Dominik Kubalik continued his sizzling rookie season by scoring for the fifth time in eight games during Sunday's 2-1 setback to Dallas.
2. The Blues have secured at least a point in nine of their last 11 meetings (6-2-3) with the Blackhawks.
3. Chicago RW Patrick Kane has recorded 63 points (25 goals, 38 assists) in 64 career games versus St. Louis.
PREDICTION: Blues 4, Blackhawks 1