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Game Notes: Oct. 12 at Chicago

by Dan O'Neill / St. Louis Blues

Matchup
Tonight marks the first time since 1989 that the Blues will open a regular season schedule in Chicago. This will be the 302nd all-time regular season meeting between the Blues and Blackhawks and the first overall since Troy Brouwer sent the Blackhawks to the first tee in Game 7 of their first-round series last postseason. St. Louis will look to continue their recent success at United Center as they have gone 5-2-0 in their last seven trips (including the postseason) after losing their previous six in a row. Expect a tight game because eight of the last 10 meetings in this series (regular + postseason) have been one-goal games, including three overtime finishes and one shootout.

What to Watch
Many Blues fans will be anxious to see Nail Yakupov in action for the first time but not surprisingly, his Russian counterpart has been the most visible player in this series recently. Over the past two seasons, only James Neal (11) has scored more goals against the Blackhawks than Vladimir Tarasenko (10) in the regular season and the postseason. Fans will also want to keep an eye on Jake Allen, who missed a day of practice after suffering a lower-body injury in the Blues' final preseason game. Allen has shined against Chicago in his career, posting a 4-2-0 record along with a 2.05 GAA and a .934 save-percentage. Those numbers include a 2-1-0 mark, a 2.16 goals-against average and a .940 save-percentage at United Center.

Milestones
Tonight, Allen will become the 17th goaltender in Blues history to dress in at least 100 games with the club. Mike Liut is the franchise leader at 347. Since his first NHL game (Feb. 5, 2013), Allen ranks fourth overall in win-percentage (57-26-7, .672) amongst goaltenders with at least 50 games played.

Quick Hits

  • Tonight marks the first time the Blues have opened a season on the road, domestically, since Oct. 4, 2007 at Phoenix (2-3 L). *They opened the 2009-10 season vs. DET in Sweden
  • The Blues are 11-9-6 all-time in season-opening road games
  • Since Ken Hitchcock was hired (Nov. 8, 2011), the Blues have posted the NHL's best regular season record at 224-103-36 (.667)
  • The Blues' 25-11-5 road record in 2015-16 was the second best in team history
  • Last season, Tarasenko became the first Blue to score 40 goals since Brad Boyes in 2007-08 while his 292 shots were the most by a Blue since Al MacInnis posted 299 in 2002-03
  • Alex Pietrangelo will play his first regular season game as Blues captain tonight. Since his first full season (2010-11), he ranks ninth amongst defensemen in points, shares 10th amongst defensemen in plus/minus (+62) and ranks sixth in total ice time (10,954:04)
  • Last season, Colton Parayko became the seventh Blue in team history to make the All-Rookie Team, joining Jake Allen, Patrik Berglund, Barret Jackman, Jim Campbell, Rod Brind'Amour and Brian Benning
     
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