Daily Primer Oct. 9: Fueling a new rivalry

Wednesday, 10.09.2013 / 5:00 AM
John Kreiser  - NHL.com Columnist

The Chicago Blackhawks lost their longest-running rivalry when the Detroit Red Wings moved to the Eastern Conference as part of the NHL's realignment. The St. Louis Blues are in line to step up as the team the Blackhawks love to hate the most.

The Blackhawks visit the unbeaten Blues in this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game (NBCSN, 8 p.m. ET). Chicago and St. Louis have been in the same division since 1970, and they figure to battle for the top spot in the Central this season. With the Stanley Cup Playoffs now division-based, they could also see each other in the postseason.

Here's a quick look at all of Wednesday's action:

Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues -- Chicago has been inconsistent in its first two games, mixing stretches of domination with costly lapses. One player who needs to pick up his play is goaltender Corey Crawford, who has allowed six goals on 48 shots for a save percentage of .875. The Blues have looked like world-beaters in the early going, outscoring their opponents 11-2 while winning their first two games. Jaroslav Halak figures to start for the third time in as many games after setting the franchise record for career shutouts with his 17th in a 7-0 thrashing of the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Montreal Canadiens at Calgary Flames -- The Canadiens begin a trek through Western Canada looking for their first victory at Scotiabank Saddledome since Jan. 5, 2002. They've dropped their last six trips to Calgary. Montreal is coming off a solid performance in a 4-1 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. The Flames have points in all three of their games, but they've blown leads of two and three goals to come away with only one point in two of those games, including a 5-4 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday in their home opener.

Ottawa Senators at Los Angeles Kings -- While the Canadiens explore Western Canada, the Senators will be spending the rest of the week in California, beginning with a stop at Staples Center, a place they haven't won since Jan. 11, 2000. Los Angeles isn't exactly the Senators' favorite stopover: Ottawa is 1-11-1 all time in L.A. The Senators are 1-0-1 after two games of their season-opening six-game trip. The Kings will need better goaltending than they've been getting from Jonathan Quick, who was pulled after allowing four goals in a 5-3 road loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday and allowed what was officially listed as a 163-foot shot on a penalty clear to bounce off his blocker and into the net in a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Monday, spoiling their home opener.

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