The Chicago Blackhawks will finally return to action this Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues. This will be the first meeting of the season with central division “rival”.With the Detriot Red Wings moving conferences, the Blues are being coined as the new rival to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blues also are the pick of the Chicago Sun-Times to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. Here are three Blues to watch out for in Wednesday’s game.
1.Jaroslav Halak Goalie: Halak split time with time with Brian Elliott in goal last season. Halak’s numbers were 6 -5, a save percentage of .899 and 2.14 GAA. Elliott won the job with better numbers. Elliot went 14-8 with save percentage of .907 and 2.28 GAA. Elliott and Halak were locked in goalie battle last season that Elliott won. They are supposed to be locked in a goalie battle this season. Halak thus far has started both games for the Blues this season. He is 2-0 with a save percentage .959 and 1.00 GAA. Halak is playing a high level right now. If he can continue to play a high level the Blues could be a force to be reckoned with in the Central division and the Western Conference. One of his two wins this season was a shutout.
2.Chris Stewart Right Wing: Stewart was the Blues leading scorer in the lockout shortened year. Stewart had 18 goals and 18 assists in 48 games last season. This was better than his season two years ago when he scored 15 goals and 15 assists in 79 games. The Blues rise has been linked to the success of Stewart. Stewart is one of the leaders of the Blue offensive attack. The Blues will never be mistaken for an offensive driven team. They are grind it out defensive team. They wear you down. The Blues will still need a big game from Stewart to knock off the Blackhawks.
3. Alex Pietrangelo Defenseman: The former first round pick averaged 25 minutes of ice time last season. He recorded 5 goals and 19 assists in 47 games last season. In his last full season, he racked up 12 goals and 39 assists in 81 games. In only two games this season Pietrangelo has racked up 3 assists. The Blackhawks must be aware of this Blue line passer.
If the Blues are going to be a rival, they need to play better against the Blackhawks. The Blues have not had a winning record against the Blackhawks since 2000-01. The Blackhawks are 32-17-4 against the Blues in recent seasons. Halak, Stewart, and Pietrangelo are three main cogs for the Blues this season. If the Blues want to improve their record against the Blackhawks, they will need these players to excel.