After winning the first two of a challenging three-game trip,
the Chicago Blackhawks know a final difficult task awaits against
one the NHL’s best home teams.
The streaky Blackhawks look for a fourth straight victory when
they face the rival St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.
Since Jan. 21, Chicago (36-24-7) has lost nine in a row, then
won four straight before losing the next three prior to its current
three-game winning streak.
“You know over the course of a season, you’re going to have some
good stretches and some tough stretches,” coach Joel Quenneville
This current stretch of success might be the most important for
a Chicago team hoping to improve its sixth-place standing in the
Western Conference. After beating reeling Toronto 5-4 at home
Wednesday, the Blackhawks posted a pair of 2-1 victories at Ottawa
on Friday and Sunday in Detroit. All have come without star captain
Jonathan Toews, who will miss an eighth straight game with an
Ray Emery has stopped 71 of 74 shots during the three-game
winning streak. Patrick Sharp has a goal with three assists in the
last two games and Patrick Kane has three goals in four.
“Just playing that team game we’ve been seeking for the whole
season,” forward Jamal Mayers said.
The Blackhawks hope to follow that same game plan while trying
for a third straight victory over the Blues (41-18-7), who are
coming off a 5-1-0 trip that moved them into second place in the
After losing 3-0 at St. Louis on Nov. 8, Chicago won 5-2 there
Dec. 3 and 3-1 at home Feb. 19. Though the Blackhawks have won 11
of 16 against their division rival, St. Louis returns home where
The Blues had a five-game home winning streak snapped with a 4-2
loss to Boston on Feb. 22 – their first regulation defeat at
Scottrade Center in 22 games since falling to Chicago.
“It’s a tough building to win in, and we’ve got our work cut out
for us,” Mayers told the Blackhawks’ official website. “We want to
focus on ourselves. Clearly they’ve been playing well. It’s a huge
challenge for us.”
Chicago hopes to make strides on the power play, where its 3 for
10 in four games following an 0-for-39 stretch. The Blackhawks are
2 for 10 on the power play against the Blues, who have killed off
their last 27 penalties.
T.J. Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk each had a goal with an assist
as St. Louis improved to 33-0-0 when scoring at least three goals
with a 3-1 win at San Jose on Saturday.
“We’re a hard team to play against,” coach Ken Hitchcock said.
“We don’t have much quit in us and we’re willing to work for
Oshie has a goal and six assists in the last five games but
nothing in the last two versus Chicago. Teammate Andy McDonald, who
had a goal at Chicago, has three in the last three games
St. Louis’ Jaroslav Halak, who has a 1.55 goals-against average
during his five-game winning streak, is expected to start Tuesday.
He made 29 saves against the Blackhawks in November for the first
of six shutouts this season.
Emery is 3-0-0 with a 1.30 GAA all-time against the Blues.
Teammate Marian Hossa has three goals in the last two versus St.