Apr 4, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalieCorey Crawford
(50) makes a save against St. Louis Blues centerVladimir Sobotka
(17) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Game #41– Chicago Blackhawks (31-5-4) at St Louis Blues (23-15-12)
Game Time-11:30 Central
Season Series– Blackhawks lead 2-1. Blackhawks won in January 3-2, and shutout the Blues in St Louis 3-0 in February. St Louis won in a shootout 4-3 in Chicago on April 4th.
Preview– The Blues begin a home-stand with a rival that is staying in their division. The big story for the Blues besides the fact that they really need to keep winning to hold on to a playoff spot (they are currently the 6th seed in the West) is Brian Elliott. Elliott who was struggling in net before Jaroslav Halak was injured (groin) has returned to his form last year and has collected 3 straight shut-outs. Getting his fourth against the Hawks will be a tough task and the high powered offense led by the dynamic duo of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The Blues next win will also be Ken Hitchcock’s 600th career victory. You have to think that the Blues remember the last time they played and Ray Emery was waving at Barret Jackman from the bench, so expect the Blues to be even more chippy and chirpy than they already normally are on gameday.
The Blackhawks have the division title in hand and now only playoff seeding and health left to accomplish in the last eight games. The last time the Hawks played this early they destroyed the Red Wings who looked like they were still at pre-game skate 7-1. The real issue is health for the Hawks and Dave Bolland made the trip and is listed as probable. The Corey Crawford and Ray Emery “controversy” is just going to keep burning especially if both keep playing good, which some believe competition is a good thing instead of having a clear cut #1. The Hawks are a league best 16-2-2 away from the United Center.
Prediction– The Blues have a lot to play for just like the Red Wings did Friday night so look for a hard fought chippy game and a 3-2 Blues victory. This of course is not what I will be rooting for so I hope I’m wrong!
What is your prediction for this early afternoon game?
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