NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, February 13th
(All times eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (30-14-8) at St. Louis Blues (22-25-7), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks will bring their season-long road
trip to a close tonight, when they visit the St. Louis Blues and Scottrade
Chicago is 5-2-0 so far on its eight-game road trip and rebounded from a
sloppy 7-3 loss in Vancouver last Saturday to post a 3-1 win in Atlanta on
Wednesday. Jonathan Toews scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period,
while Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland also tallied in the victory.
Cam Barker registered a pair of assists for the Blackhawks, who despite being
11 points back of first-place Detroit in the Central Division, are fourth
overall in the Western Conference with 68 points.
Chicago is 16-10-3 overall on the road this year and will play at home on
for the first time since a loss to St. Louis on January 21 when it hosts
Dallas on Saturday.
Nikolai Khabibulin was outstanding between the pipes in Wednesday's win,
stopping 36-of-37 shots for Chicago. Khabibulin has won his last four starts
and posted a 1.75 goals against average in that span, which does not include a
loss he got in relief on Saturday versus Vancouver.
His run could have earned him more playing time, as Chicago has been rotating
starts between Khabibulin and Cristobal Huet. However, Khabibulin, who missed
time earlier this year due to a groin injury, suffered a lower-body injury
versus the Thrashers and is unlikely to be available tonight. Netminder Antti
Niemi was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Thursday to
Huet is 1-2-0 with a 3.05 GAA over his last four starts and allowed three
goals on nine shots faced in the first period versus the Canucks before
getting pulled. He is 1-3-0 with a 2.01 GAA in his career versus the Blues.
St. Louis will play the first of two straight home games tonight and will
skate on consecutive nights coming off a heartbreaking loss in Nashville. The
Blues carried a two-goal edge into the third frame of last night's contest,
but saw the Predators' Jason Arnott force overtime with just three seconds
left. Chris Mason was then beaten by Nashville's Steve Sullivan in the
shootout, sending St. Louis to a deflating 4-3 setback.
David Backes and Brad Winchester had a goal and an assist each and David
Perron also scored in St. Louis' second straight setback. The Blues also
failed to get out of the basement in the Western Conference, although their
point did tie them with Colorado for fewest in the West with 51.
Brad Boyes finished with two assists and has 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) in
his last seven outings, while Mason made 31 saves for a St. Louis squad that
is 13-11-4 at home this year and will also host the Rangers on Monday.
The Blues have earned a point in all four of their matchups with the
Blackhawks this year, going 3-0-1 against them. The clubs have split a pair of
meetings in the Gateway City in that span, as the Blues notched a 4-3 shootout
win back on October 18 before falling, 2-1, in overtime on January 17.
02/13 10:48:54 ET