Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Meet St. Louis On Rivalry Night

By Mike Brennan
Nov 14, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks fight during the second period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 14, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks fight during the second period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Chicago Blackhawks will be back in action Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues. The Blues currently sit third in the central division, but only two points behind the ‘Hawks and the Stars for first. In their last ten games, the Blues have been 7-3-0, and they have been 19-11-4 in games where they are in the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Let’s take a look into this game against the gross Blues, and enjoy this video from 2014 when

Brent Seabrook

almost killed

David Backes

.

Yeah sure that hit was brutal and kind of illegal, but c’mon it’s rivalry night! Anyways the Blues have been pretty streaky lately. In their last 11 outings, they have won five in a row where they outscored their opponents 17-10. Then they lost three in a row where they were outscored 11-4. And now they have won three games in a row where they have outscored their opponents 13-7. So while they have not been able to keep the puck out of their own net as of late, they have without a doubt been able to create scoring chances and opportunities at the other end.

More from Blackhawk Up

All these goals they have been scoring as of late — averaging 3.09 goals per game in their last 11 — is not like the Blues this year: normally averaging 2.48 goals per game (24th in the league). A big reason why they have been able to score so much recently has been their best player Vladimir Tarasenko. In 65 games with the Blues this season, Tarasenko has 55 points on 30 goals and 25 assists. His mark of 30 goals ranks 6th in the league in goals scored.

One of the strengths of this team this year has been their goalies Jake Allen and Brian Elliott. They have contributed to the Blues having a team save percentage of .925% where the league average is .916%. I bring up the team save percentage because Allen has started 39 games and Elliot has started 33 games. They are doing the same thing the Red Wings do with Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard, but to a much greater extent. This dynamic has clearly been working for them when you take into account that the Blues rank 8th in the league in goals against with 164 this year.

More from Blackhawks News

This ranking is also there for the Blues because they have a pretty above average defensive core. Players like Kevin Shattenkirk, Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo are some of the best at what they do, and they live to slow down fast teams like the Blackhawks, Avalanche or Stars. The stat that I find funny is that Shattenkirk is easily their best defensive player, and yet he has a plus/minus of -16.

As for the ‘Hawks they are coming off of a 4-1 win over the Red “we aren’t very good” Wings — yes I just made up a new name. This was a much closer game than the scoreboard showed though. The ‘Hawks were only up one until the last nine minutes of the third. One of the funniest moments of the year came out of this odd game when good ol’ Eddie O broke out the graphics for a kid going in on an ice cream cone.

The recent word around town is that Marian Hossa will be back on the ice for this game, as he has missed the past couple weeks with a leg injury. It will be interesting to see where Hossa will be put Wednesday night. If I had to give a guess, I would say that Hossa will return to the top line alongside Jonathon Toews and Andrew Ladd. Then the second line would remain the same, and the third line can add some depth with Andrew Desjardins, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrew Shaw. Those are three lines that can take on anyone and will be extremely scary for anyone playing the ‘Hawks come April or May.

In team news, the ‘Hawks have officially signed Marcus Kruger to a three-year extension through the end of the 2018-19 season. This is a good move for the ‘Hawks, as Kruger has always proven to the ‘Hawks that he can be a solid third line center to add depth to the forwards.

More from Blackhawk Up

Corey Crawford is expected to start for the ‘Hawks, and Jake Allen for the Blues since Brian Elliott has been placed on the long-term IR.

The game will be featured on NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry and can be heard as always on 720 WGN in the car. That is all I have for this one, so until next Go ‘Hawks!

facebooktwitterreddit