The Blues, currently riding three consecutive shutouts by Brian Elliott (2-0-1), travel to the 6th place rival Blackhawks on Thursday night. St. Louis is looking to keep pace with the New York Rangers, who are currently tied with the Blues for the President’s Trophy with 105 points. The Blackhawks, who are 3 points behind the Nashville Predators for the 5th spot in the Western Conference, have lost two straight (0-1-1) by a combined score of 8-2.
Brian Elliott’s record setting streak will be put on a hold tonight, as Ken Hitchcock is giving him a night off while providing Jaroslav Halak with a chance to prove himself in a hostile environment. Only about 10 days ago, Halak was the presumed playoff starter, but the decision has been made much harder due to Elliott’s fantastic play between the pipes. The Blues have also benefitted from some great play from Alex Pietrangelo, who has put up some great offensive numbers this season (12 G, 37 A) and has recently been added to the discussion for the Norris Trophy,
If standings hold in the west, the Blues will have a first round matchup against the San Jose Sharks, who have lost all four meetings against St. Louis this season. The Blackhawks would have a first round set up against the Pacific division leading Dallas Stars, a much easier matchup then either the fifth or fourth seed would provide. These two teams could only meet in the playoffs in the Conference Finals.
Prediction: As Elliott gets a night off, the Blackhawks home crowd will have a big impact – Blackhawks 4, Blues 2