CHICAGO - “We thank you for flying with us tonight. Welcome to Milwaukee.”
As it turns out, heavy fog prevented the Blues from landing in Chicago last night, instead diverting the team plane to Milwaukee, where it landed around 1:15 a.m. The club then took the 90-minute bus ride to Chicago, finally arriving at the team hotel a little after 4 a.m. CT.
As a result, the Blues will not hold a morning skate today as they get set for the second game of back-to-backs against Western Conference rivals.
Last night, Jake Allen was superb in a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, making 31 saves before the Kings sealed the win with an empty-net goal in the final minute. It was the Blues’ first regulation loss at home this season.
"We didn't play the way we needed to collectively play," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said after the game. "We have one line [Alexander Steen, Jori Lehtera and Vladimir Tarasenko] that for me should have the freedom to play the right way but have the green light to be creative. They can make plays; everybody else should be (going) in straight lines and we weren't in straight lines and (the Kings) took advantage of it.”
“We’ll play (Wednesday) night and put this (loss) behind us just like we have the wins,” Blues captain David Backes said after the game. “Try for another two points tomorrow.”
Brian Elliott will make his first start since a 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Oct. 24. Elliott is 4-0-0 against Western Conference teams this season, registering a 2.01 goals-against average and a .918 save-percentage.
The Blackhawks last played Monday night at United Center, earning a 4-2 win against the Kings. Chicago is 6-1-0 at home will be looking for their seventh consecutive home victory tonight. Like the Blues, the Blackhawks are dealing with some significant injuries, including one to defenseman Duncan Keith and forward Marian Hossa, both of whom will not play tonight.
Last season, the Blues won three of five meetings between the teams.
Tonight marks the first game of a four-game road trip, which will also take the Blues to Nashville, New Jersey and New York for a meeting with the Rangers. The Blues are 4-2-0 on the road this season and will return home next Saturday to host Chicago.
David Backes has a three-game point streak against the Blackhawks (two goals, one assist).
Alex Pietrangelo had five assists in five games against Chicago last season.