Preview: Blues at Blackhawks
The St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks are far removed from the days when the bitter rivals were routinely battling for supremacy in the Central Division. As the teams prepare to meet for the fourth time this season Wednesday night in Chicago, the Blues are sitting in last place in the division – one point behind the skidding Blackhawks.
A change behind the bench has done nothing to reverse the sagging fortunes of Chicago, which has lost eight in a row (0-6-2) and dropped all three games under new coach Jeremy Colliton. “When you’re in a losing streak, it’s hard to get out of it,” Colliton told reporters after Tuesday’s practice. “You need a couple breaks, but often you don’t get them. You got to make your own breaks. And we’re close. Once we break through, that tide will turn and we can go on a run.” St. Louis got off to a dismal start with seven losses in its first nine games, including a pair of overtime defeats to the Blackhawks, but it has won four of six starting with a 7-3 thrashing of Chicago. “We’ve been winning some games this last little stretch,” Blues coach Mike Yeo told reporters after Sunday’s 3-2 home loss to Minnesota. “Unfortunately, when you dig yourself into a hole the way that we did, every loss really hurts.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
ABOUT THE BLUES (6-6-3): The loss to the Wild denied St. Louis its first three-game winning streak of the season and also marked the team’s sixth one-goal defeat in 15 games. “We gotta keep learning from this,” Yeo told the media. “Everybody’s sick of losing. So it’s just a matter of doing what it takes to win hockey games. At a certain point, you can’t just keep saying, hey, we’re getting closer. Or we’re getting better. At a certain point we gotta find a way to win these games that are there for you.” Center Ryan O’Reilly has eight goals and nine assists during a career-high 10-game point streak.
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (6-8-4): Chicago picked up its first point since Colliton replaced Joel Quenneville, but it coughed up a two-goal lead in the 3-2 overtime loss at Carolina on Monday and has scored 14 goals during the eight-game skid. “Just the way things are going right now that we didn’t find a way to get up a few more goals or two,” said captain Jonathan Toews, who is tied with Alex DeBrincat for second on the team with nine goals after both scored Monday. Toews has three goals and an assist and DeBrincat boasts four points in the three games versus the Blues this season.
1. Blackhawks F Brandon Saad (arm) could rejoin the lineup after missing the past two games.
2. Blues F Vladimir Tarasenko has 18 goals and 28 points in 26 career games versus Chicago.
3. Chicago put F Marcus Kruger on injured reserve and recalled D Gustav Forsling from Rockford of the American Hockey League.