NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 2nd (All times eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (16-17-5) at St. Louis Blues (12-19-7), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Two Central Division teams which have benefited from midseason coaching changes will begin a two-game series tonight at St. Louis' Scottrade Center, where the red-hot Blues host the rival Chicago Blackhawks.
St. Louis comes in having won five of its last six and is 5-2-3 since Andy Murray took over head coaching duties from Mike Kitchen in mid-December. The Blues' two most recent victories came at the expense of the Colorado Avalanche, including a 2-0 triumph Saturday at the Savvis Center.
Manny Legace cast aside all 33 shots he faced to record his first shutout of the season. During St. Louis' recent six-game surge, the veteran goaltender has compiled an outstanding 1.47 goals against average.
Keith Tkachuk and Lee Stempniak both scored power-play goals for the Blues, who won their third straight home game and improved to 7-10-3 as the host this season.
St. Louis has yet to allow a first-period goal in the 10 games Murray has served as head coach.
Chicago has also shown improvement since Denis Savard replaced Trent Yawney behind the bench, going 9-5-3 following the November 27 change. The Blackhawks are currently mired in a two-game losing streak, however, and fell to Columbus by a 3-1 count Sunday at Nationwide Arena.
Martin Lapointe picked up the lone goal for Chicago and Nikolai Khabibulin made 21 saves in defeat.
The Blackhawks have taken three straight over the Blues, who won the first three meetings between the division foes this season. Chicago has also emerged victorious in eight of the last 12 games of this series.
The clubs will meet again at the Scottrade Center on Thursday.
01/02 10:38:16 ET