The St. Louis Blues take on their hated rival in the Chicago Blackhawks. It is only the second time this season, but it is the most important to date.
The St. Louis Blues are coming off an emotional, overtime win over the New York Rangers. They have to calm the nerves, refocus the goals and set their sights on the Madhouse on Madison.
Blues fans better get used to the sight of the Chicago Blackhawks. We are going to be seeing a lot of them over the remaining season. St. Louis has three more games with Chicago and that’s three games out of their total of 11 this year.
With the Blackhawks struggling, it is a perfect time for the Blues to pick up points. Rivalry games are never easy, but the Blues have to take advantage of a team when they are down.
The Blues are still on the outside looking in and wins are paramount to keep their hopes alive. The rest of the Central Division is in action tonight, so the Blues have to keep pace.
Though some of these players were barely a glint in someone’s eye, today marks the belated anniversary of one of the most memorable moments in this rivalry. On St. Patrick’s Day in 1991 we got the St. Patrick’s Day Massacre where the entire squad for both teams on the ice got into fights.
Do not expect that in this game as you are fortunate if you see one fight, let alone multiple ones. Still, Chicago has plenty of pride and skill left.
So, the Blues have to be on their toes and not look at the record books if they expect a win.
Know Thy Foe
Chicago has fallen on hard times having sold off so many of their secondary pieces due to salary cap concerns. Combine that with their younger players not coming along as fast as they have in the past and you end up with a record of 30-34-8.
Chicago has gone on a run here or there this season. However, in untypical Blackhawks fashion, every win streak was matched by a string of losses to take them right back out of the race.
The Blackhawks are 3-7-0 over their last 10 games. They’ve also lost two in a row including a 5-3 loss to Buffalo last night.
Chicago is still dangerous at the top of their lineup. They have four guys with 40-plus points. However, down the lineup the scoring has not been there the way it has been the last few years.
The Blackhawks are relatively healthy this season, though they do have some long-term injuries. Corey Crawford has missed the bulk of this season along with Michael Rosival and Anthony Duclair suffered an injury last weekend.
Chicago has had the better of the regular season matchups with these two over the past few years, though it is closer than most Blues fans would believe. The last time either team won more than three games in the regular season was 2012.
The Blues have the season series, if you can even call it that, on their side so far. Through a whopping one game this year, the Blues won by a final score of 5-2.
That was way back on October 18. Not quite sure what the schedule makers were thinking with this one.
The Blues last win in Chicago was in October of 2016.
Vladimir Tarasenko has dominated things against Chicago in his career. He’s got a goal and two points this season. In 21 career games against the Hawks, he has 13 goals and 21 points.
There was no morning skate today. Mike Yeo will address the media around 5 pm according to Jeremy Rutherford, so we may know the lineup by then.
*update* Vladimir Tarasenko has been ruled out of the game.
Where To Watch
NBC Sports Network
NBC Sports App, NHL.tv (subscriber fee)
KMOX, KMOX.com, Blues app
The game is scheduled to begin around 6:30 pm Central Time.
If you base it purely on the records, the Blues should come out on top. However, no matter how good or bad these teams are they always seem to play tough games.
Of course, Blues fans will always remember the games that were not close, but overall there have not been a ton of blowouts. With that in mind, both teams are on equal footing.
Both played last night, so rest should not be an issue overall. The Blues could be a little more gassed going to overtime, but you cannot let that affect you this season.
The Blues need to win and Chicago is playing for pride. What better way to feel better about your season than to eliminate a rival from playoff contention.
That said, I think the Blues find a way to get it done. They have a pretty good record this season in the second game of a back to back.
I think the Blues slip by in this one by a final of 3-2. Hopefully they can get a little bit of help with some losses elsewhere by their division rivals.