What: St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks
When: 7:00 p.m.
Where: United Center in Chicago
TV: Fox Sports Midwest
Tickets: Blues vs. Blackhawks tickets
Radio: KMOX 1120 AM
A humbled St. Louis Blues squad will head into the United Center Thursday night for another early season matchup against their division rival, the Chicago Blackhawks.
After being dominated in every facet of the game Tuesday night on their way to a 6-2 loss against the San Jose Sharks (their first of the season), the Blues will look to rebound in a tough environment at the United Center.
The Blackhawks will be looking for a bit of revenge, after suffering a last-minute loss against the Blues just eight days ago at Scottrade Center.
Thursday night will be the first away game of the season for the Blues, who went 4-1 on their five-game homestand to start the season. According to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post Dispatch, Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock thinks hitting the road will be good for the Blues.
“This is good for us to get on the road … we need to get on the road,” Hitchcock said. “We just got far too comfortable at home. Our game started with great energy and focus, and we got a little bit sloppier the longer we stayed there. It felt like we had been there a long time. I think our sloppiness started to show in the Rangers game and it fed into the San Jose game. We weren’t ready for the competition.”
Still, the Blues have a tough task facing them for their first road game of the season. The Madhouse on Madison has been none to kind to the Blues in recent years. They have only won one game against the Blackhawks (1-3-4) at the United Center in the past three seasons, with their lone win coming in a shootout last season on April 4.
The Blues will take the ice without their fourth line center, Maxim Lapierre, who is suspending pending a hearing for his hit on Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle on Tuesday night. Lapierre, who has a history for questionable hits on the ice, will most likely be facing a lengthy suspension.
With Lapierre out, it looks like Magnus Paajarvi will finally get a chance to show what he has to offer to the Blues. The 22-year-old Swedish winger, who came over to the Blues from the Edmonton Oilers in the David Perron trade, has not played a regular season game this season.
However, according to Hitchcock, it has not been an issue regarding a lack of talent or commitment.
“There’s no issue with Magnus. He’s been a good player. Part of development is desperation. So younger players are sometimes discouraged because they’ve been with other programs. But here, this organization gives first benefit of doubt to veteran players.”
Paajarvi will look to make Hitchcock’s lineup decisions more and more difficult when the club returns to full strength.
Additionally, it looks as if Brenden Morrow will be in the lineup Thursday night. Morrow was the victim of another questionable hit on Tuesday night, doled out by the Sharks Brent Burns. However, in this instance, Burns is not facing a disciplinary hearing from the NHL. Morrow sat out of practice yesterday, but should be ready to go when the puck drops.