Feb 19, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger (16) dives to take the puck away from St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Rivalry Renewed: Blues Welcome 'Hawks to Scottrade

The Blues welcome the surging Chicago Blackhawks to St. Louis on Tuesday night as both teams look to get a big 2 points heading

into the final month of the regular season. The Blues are coming off of a win at San Jose Saturday that capped off a stellar road trip for St. Louis, going 5-1-0. The Blackhawks have also been playing well of late, currently riding a three game winning streak.

The Chicago-St. Louis rivalry has been entertaining this season, with the Blackhawks leading the series 2-1. In their last meeting just over two weeks ago, the Blues outplayed and outshot the Hawks, but lost 2-0. The Blues were plagued by a bit of bad luck as David Backes deflected in what was to be the game winning goal for Chicago.

Jaroslav Halak has put himself in a good position to be the starting goaltender heading into the playoffs, recording five straight wins in his past 5 starts. The offense has also been sparked recently by the splendid play of Andy McDonald, who contributed 3 goals and 2 assists over the six game road trip, and has invigorated a rather stale Blues’ power play. St. Louis has also been benefitting from great hustle and production from their third and fourth attack lines, a trend that must continue for the Blues to remain hot.

Currently, the Blues are tied for the Central Division lead with the Detroit Red Wings, but hold the second slot in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks, who at one point had lost 9 straight games and were the laughing stock of the conference, are firmly back in the playoff picture in 6th place, and trail the Blues by 10 points in the division. Tomorrow night will surely be a hard-hitting affair, as their last matchup featured almost 60 combined hits.

Check out this ESPN What 2 Watch 4 preview of the Blues-Hawks showdown.

Prediction: Blues 3, Blackhawks 1


Tags: Andy McDonald Chicago Blackhawks David Backes Detroit Red Wings Jaroslav Halak St. Louis Blues

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