NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 21st (All times eastern)
St. Louis Blues (18-23-4) at Chicago Blackhawks (25-11-8), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Though only three of their players are going to the All- Star game, the rest of the Blackhawks will also be getting ready to pack their bags. Chicago plays its final home game for quite some time tonight, as they host the St. Louis Blues at the United Center.
The Blackhawks are wrapping a quick two-game homestand tonight after losing to the Minnesota Wild, 4-1, at the United Center on Monday. Chicago will then start an epic eight-game road trip following the All-Star break with a test in Anaheim next Wednesday.
Chicago won't return home again until it hosts Dallas on February 14.
Martin Havlat produced the lone goal versus the Wild for the Blackhawks, who have dropped two of three and are just 5-5-1 since a franchise-record nine- game winning streak. Nikolai Khabibulin allowed three goals on 25 shots.
Chicago is 10 points back of first-place Detroit in the Central Division and 14-3-5 as the host this year.
The Blackhawks will be well represented in Montreal at this weekend's All-Star game, as forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and defenseman Brian Campbell are all slated to start for the West.
Kane leads Chicago with 26 assists and 42 points, while Toews has 13 goals and 23 assists on the season. Campbell, in his first season in the Windy City after signing as a free agent, has seven goals and 23 assists this year with 15 of those points (4 goals, 11 assists) coming on the power play.
The Blues will try to gain a head of momentum prior to the All-Star breather, as they rallied for a big 5-4 win over Boston on Monday. David Perron and David Backes scored in the final 1:20 of the third to force overtime before T.J. Oshie and Brad Boyes both scored in the shootout to make St. Louis a winner.
Chris Mason halted 21 shots and both skaters he faced in the extra session in relief of Manny Legace, who left in the first period due to a lower-body injury. Perron and Backes each added an assist for the Blues, who had lost three of four coming in, while Brad Winchester and Jay McClement also scored.
Legace is questionable for tonight's game. He is 13-9-2 with a 3.12 goals against average on the season and has also missed time this year due to a hip flexor and concussion.
It is just the latest injury for the Blues, who are last in the West with 40 points and are already playing without Erik Johnson (knee), Paul Kariya (hip), Andy McDonald (ankle) and Eric Brewer (back) amongst others.
St. Louis is just 7-14-1 on the road this year and has dropped nine of its last 11 as the visiting club.
The Blues have lost six of their last eight in Chicago. They have won two of three overall versus the Blackhawks this year.
Keith Tkachuk, the Blues' lone All-Star representative, has 32 goals and 33 assists in 65 career games versus Chicago. He has 14 goals and 16 assists so far this year with 10 of his goals coming on the power play.
01/21 10:35:40 ET