NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 28th (All times Eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (16-0-3) at St. Louis Blues (10-6-2), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Following a rare come-from-behind victory earlier this week, the Chicago Blackhawks aim to extend their NHL record point streak on Thursday evening in a road matchup with the rival St. Louis Blues.
The Blackhawks found themselves in a rare position on Monday against the Edmonton Oilers: trailing going into the third period. It marked only the third time this season that Chicago was behind after 40 minutes, but Viktor Stalberg scored a tying goal just 2:24 into the third period and Marian Hossa capped the comeback with the winner 1:44 into overtime in a 3-2 decision.
Patrick Kane also scored for the Blackhawks, who extended their record season- opening point streak to 19 games at 16-0-3. They also improved to 2-0-1 this season when trailing after two periods and 10-0-3 in one-goal games. Each of Chicago's last five games have been decided by the slim margin.
"The biggest thing is that we don't want to lose right now," Kane said. "We want to keep this thing going. I'm telling you, after the second period guys weren't very happy that we were down a goal and we knew we wanted to come back and change that right away."
Ray Emery made 17 saves in Chicago's sixth straight victory, which came in the finale of a seven-game homestand. The Blackhawks moved to 8-0-1 as the hosting club this season.
Chicago center Dave Bolland missed his second straight game with an upper- body injury and isn't expected to play in this game, while Corey Crawford is set to make his second start since his return from injury. The 'Hawks netminder is 7-1-1 with a 2.79 goals against average in his career versus the Blues.
Crawford made 32 saves in a 3-2 home win over the Blues on Jan. 22, the Blackhawks' third in a row in this series and seventh in the past nine meetings. All three games of the current series win streak have been decided by one goal as well.
The Blues have won five of their past seven in St. Louis versus the Blackhawks and are expected to start Jaroslav Halak on Thursday. He is 3-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA at home in his career versus Chicago.
St. Louis has been off since Saturday, but lost another player to injury during its break as Andy McDonald suffered a left knee injury in practice on Tuesday and landed on injured reserve the following day. In 18 games this season, he has registered three goals and eight assists.
Alex Steen, who leads the club with 16 points, was also shaken up in Tuesday's practice and did not practice on Wednesday, but has not been ruled out for this game.
Those injuries come after St. Louis placed rookie Vladimir Tarasenko on IR due to a concussion suffered in last Wednesday's 1-0 overtime setback to Colorado. The Blues were without the talented youngster for their most recent game, but still managed a 2-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Chris Stewart and David Perron had the goals, while Halak came up with 18 saves as the Blues snapped a two-game slide and moved to 4-1-1 in their last six.
"Guys did a hell of a job tonight, especially in the second and third just blocking the shots," Halak said. "Sometimes it's not easy, it wasn't pretty at times, but we got it done. We got two points and now lets keep moving forward."
St. Louis also snapped a five-game slide at home and did not allow a power- play goal for a third straight game. It has killed off all nine penalties in that span.
02/28 10:42:09 ET