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Blues Look to Bounce Back vs. Blackhawks

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - Paul Stastny had a good perspective about Friday’s loss in Columbus.

“Sometimes it’s better, I think, to get blown out than lose a close game where in your head, (you can) tell yourself you were in it,” he said. “It’s a good wake up call for us to get back to what works. Maybe we got a little comfortable, a little too loose, which tends to happen when you’re on a good streak.

“But you want to get back to your winning ways, and what better way to get tested than to play probably one of the top teams in the Western Conference?”

Yes, today is one of those days that’s been circled on your calendar since June - a daytime showdown between the Blues and their arch rival Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blues have a six point lead in the standings on Chicago. Both teams have played 52 games. The Blues hadn’t lost in regulation in 13 games before Friday’s loss to the Blue Jackets. The Blackhawks had lost two straight before a 2-1 overtime win against Winnipeg on Friday.

“You take a game like this, it’s a good measure for us and a good measure for Chicago,” Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said after Saturday’s practice at Scottrade Center. “When you get big games, you want to see how your team measures up.”

The Blues have won four straight at home vs. Chicago for the first time since the 1998-99 season. The Blues and Blackhawks have split the season series through two games this season.

Sunday’s game begins at 11:30 a.m. at Scottrade Center (NBC, KMOX 1120 AM).

INJURY UPDATES

Jori Lehtera, who has been out of the lineup with an upper-body injury sustained on Jan. 28 vs. Nashville, skated Saturday. Hitchcock said in Columbus that Lehtera has had a few “good days.” After Saturday’s practice, Hitchcock ruled Lehtera out for Sunday’s game vs. Chicago, but called it a good sign that he was skating.

Chris Porter began skating on his own Monday. Porter has been out of the lineup since late December after sustaining a leg injury on Dec. 29 vs. Colorado.

“Docs gave me the green light to start doing straight ahead stuff and I’ve progressed throughout the week,” Porter said Saturday. “Hopefully within the next couple weeks I’m playing. I have to get into practice with the guys, and maybe that’s the next step. Whenever (Head Athletic Trainer) Ray (Barile) gives me the green light, I’m ready whenever. “

BLUE NOTES

Paul Stastny’s power-play goal on Friday in Columbus extended his point streak to four games (one goal, three assists).

The Blues have points in nine consecutive games at home, including a four-game win streak, which ties a season high for the fourth time. Overall, the Blues are 20-4-2 at home this season.

With a win Sunday, Hitchcock could tie Dick Irvin (692) for fourth on the NHL’s all-time wins list.

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