Blues-Blackhawks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 12, 2012
With their defense and special teams leading the way, the red-hot St. Louis Blues are nearing their first division title since 2000. While the Blues have been superb lately, trips to Chicago usually haven't brought out their best. St. Louis will try to add to its season-high win streak Tuesday night by snapping a five-game road skid to the Blackhawks, who likely won't have captain Jonathan Toews available. The Blues (45-18-7) have allowed two goals or fewer in every game during a 9-1-0 stretch, the longest such streak in the NHL this season. They've given up only one in each of their five consecutive wins and killed off 47 straight penalties, including a season-high eight during a 2-1 win in Columbus on Sunday. Jaroslav Halak made 26 of his 33 saves over the final two periods to preserve that victory, his career-best eighth in a row. "A win is a win. It wasn't pretty," Halak said following the opener of a season-high, seven-game trip. "We didn't play our game for 60 minutes, but we were still able to come out with a big two points." Halak's performance also helped push St. Louis six points ahead of Detroit in the Central Division and four points ahead of the New York Rangers in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. The Blues last won that trophy while claiming their most recent division title and were led by current Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. To help its cause, St. Louis will try to end its 0-3-2 skid at the United Center and earn only its fifth win in the past 18 visits to Chicago. The Blues have given up a combined 23 goals over their past five games at the United Center against the Blackhawks, including a 3-1 loss Feb. 19. That game also marked the last time Toews was on the ice for Chicago (37-25-8). The Blackhawks captain has missed the past 10 games with what's being called an upper-body injury but is believed to be a concussion. He has returned to practice, although he rested Tuesday, but has not been cleared for contact. Chicago is 5-4-1 in his absence but has won three of five. The Blackhawks just missed out on another victory Sunday when they fell 3-2 in a shootout with visiting Los Angeles. Patrick Kane scored the tying goal with 12:24 left in regulation, but he was also the first of six players who couldn't beat Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick in the extra session. Viktor Stalberg also missed a penalty shot in the third period. "We at least got a point out of it," Kane said. "You'd obviously like to win in a shootout or overtime, but it's not going to happen every time." The Blackhawks didn't come close to earning a point during their visit to St. Louis last Tuesday. Andy McDonald scored a pair of goals in the Blues' 5-1 win, and Halak made 19 saves while improving to 3-0-1 with a 1.48 goals-against average in four starts against Chicago. "They're on an amazing roll," Quenneville said. "It's going to be a hard game, physical game and important game for everybody." Quenneville could start Ray Emery again for Tuesday's game as he's 3-1-0 with a 2.21 GAA in four career matchups with the Blues, but Emery also took the loss in last week's matchup. The teams have split their four meetings this season and conclude their season series March 29 at the United Center.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Community college hockey player leaves penalty box, attacks referee

Tampa Bay Lightning trade star goaltender Ben Bishop to the LA Kings in surprise deal

Divac makes bold promise after trading DeMarcus Cousins

Popovich praises Magic, wishes him well with Lakers

Report: Andrew Bogut likely to join Cavs after buyout

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Broncos expected to 'at least discuss' Romo

Report: Raiders don't expect to keep Latavius Murray

Report: Josh Hamilton needs another knee operation

Ball's father says comment about Lakers was misquoted

Revis hints he is open to taking significant pay cut

Several NBA executives have concerns about Lonzo Ball’s father

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker