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Chicago Blackhawks Visit Rival St. Louis Blues

By Colin Likas

You know what’s worse than the St. Louis Blues? Not much. Alas, the Chicago Blackhawks have to play them every once in a while, and tonight is no exception. The Blackhawks will travel to St. Louis for their fifth preseason game of six and second straight against the men in the notes.

The Blackhawks are 3-1-0 this preseason, having scored victories over these Blues, the Red Wings and the Canadiens. They also lost to the Wings in Detroit. The Blues conclude their preseason slate with tonight’s affair and are 3-2-0 so far in exhibition action, having defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets once and Dallas Stars twice.

Courtesy the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus, here are the rosters for tonight’s game:

Chicago Blackhawks

Forwards: Andrew Desjardins, Viktor Tikhonov, Marcus Kruger, Bryan Bickell, Ryan Hartman, Kyle Baun, Vincent Hinostroza, Brandon Mashinter, Marko Dano, Garret Ross, Andrew Shaw, Dennis Rasmussen

Defensemen: David Rundblad, Trevor Daley, Ville Pokka, Viktor Svedberg, Erik Gustafsson, Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltenders: Scott Darling, Michael Leighton

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  • St. Louis Blues

    Forwards: Steve Ott, Jori Lehtera, Robby Fabri, Jaden Schwartz, Ty Rattie, Dmitrij Jaskin, Kyle Brodziak, Troy Brouwer, Scottie Upshall, David Backes, Ryan Reaves, Scott Gomez

    Defensemen: Jay Bouwmeester, Kevin Shattenkirk, Robert Bortuzzo, Petteri Lindbohm, Colton Parayko, Joel Edmundson

    Goaltenders: Pheonix Copley, Jake Allen

    Starting with the Blackhawks, the first thing you might notice is Kruger is back with the team. After his late contract signing caused visa issues for the Swede, Kruger has arrived at training camp and will see his first exhibition game action tonight. Who he will line up alongside is anyone’s guess; while Shaw and Desjardins are both in the lineup as well, this is not a typical Chicago lineup. So Kruger could be set up with nearly any two of the Blackhawks’ forwards.

    Speaking of it not being a typical Chicago lineup, you can see many of the veterans have the night off, as they have throughout the preseason. It makes double sense against a Blues team that will try to staple everything and anything to the boards just because, no matter if it’s an exhibition game or not.

    One additional note: Darling is expected to get the entire game tonight, according to Lazerus. No, this does not mean he’s starting over Corey Crawford next week.

    On the Blues’ side, several of their regulars are in the lineup, including team captain Backes. This being the team’s last exhibition game and last preseason home game, it isn’t too surprising. You’ll see some, though not all, of these guys come regular-season time.

    With that, let’s look at three Blackhawks to watch tonight at Scottrade Center.

    Marko Dano

    Considering what tonight’s lineup looks like, Dano may get some first-line time. Which guys that would be next to is up for debate, but he’ll probably get a shot to take on the likes of Bouwmeester and Shattenkirk throughout the evening. Sure, it’s an exhibition, but it’s the perfect time for Dano to prove he can make solid offensive contributions without being lined up alongside bona fide superstars. That could earn him more time with the likes of some of those aforementioned superstars when the regular season rolls around.

    Sep 23, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings wing Martin Frk (42) and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Viktor Svedberg (43) battle for the puck in the first period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Viktor Svedberg

    The 6-foot-9 defenseman has stuck around while young players have dropped to Rockford and beyond around him. Only Svedberg and Gustafsson have really stood the test of time this preseason, which could indicate Joel Quenneville and his staff really like them. Or they just want some warm bodies around. Who knows. Svedberg is no doubt an imposing being who is capable of playing at the NHL level with a little more conditioning, but at age 24, he’s likely trying to make this camp appearance count more than any before it. Tonight’s another opportunity to achieve that.

    David Rundblad

    It’s no secret Rundblad isn’t one of Q’s favorites. It’s also no secret Rundblad has done little to endear himself to his coaches so far this preseason. Could Rundblad be run down by a younger defenseman — or even Michal Rozsival — for the sixth blue-line spot? It’s entirely possible. The Blackhawks are sitting at 11 blueliners with six days to go until opening night, so it’s fair to say some guys — Svedberg, Gustafsson, Pokka and Kyle Cumiskey — are getting a heavy look. Much of that has to do with Rundblad’s struggles and Rozsival’s health. Rundblad can more easily control his situation, so it’s time for him to put up or … go to Rockford?

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