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Blackhawks gun for third straight win against Blues

by Adam Kimelman
BLUES (12-7-3) at BLACKHAWKS (13-11-2)


Last 10 -- St. Louis 3-6-1; Chicago 5-4-1.

Season series -- This is the third of six meetings between the Central Division rivals this season. On Oct. 18, Patrick Sharp's overtime goal gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 win at the United Center. In the rematch four days later, David Perron scored twice to pace the Blues to a 4-2 victory at Scottrade Center.

Big Story -- The Blackhawks have won two straight to jump past the Blues, who were swept in a home-and-home set with the Stars, in the standings. Still, only one point separates the Blue Jackets, Blackhawks and Blues, all of whom rank in the top eight in the Western Conference.

Team Scope:

Blues -- Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Stars was the Blues' first regulation home loss this season. They were the last team in the League to lose in 60 minutes at home, dropping them to 8-1-1 this season at Scottrade Center.

It also was the second straight game they lost after leading going into the third period. Saturday, the Blues led 1-0 on a late second-period goal by B.J. Crombeen, but then allowed goals to Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson early in the third.

"It's a tough one to lose whether we've lost all eight at home," rookie defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said Saturday. "It's a tough one to give away, especially going through the same thing last night."

"It's kind of a tough thing to pin down," added Crombeen. "We, for whatever reason, let up off the gas a little bit both nights for about five or 10 minutes, and they found a way to put some pucks in the net."

Blackhawks -- The Blackhawks returned home from their annual circus trip in a good mood, which a 4-2-0 stretch -- including two straight wins -- will do.

The capper was Saturday's 2-1 win in Los Angeles against the Western Conference-leading Kings. Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane each had a goal, and Corey Crawford stopped 21 of 22 shots in the victory.

"It was a big win,'' Sharp, who has goals in four straight games, told the Chicago Sun-Times. "It kind of solidifies the trip. We were kind of going back and forth. We can feel good about what we did out west here."

They won two of their final three games, against the California teams -- they lost to San Jose before beating the Ducks and Kings by a combined 6-2 margin.

"We liked the way we finished the road trip off," defenseman Duncan Keith told the Sun-Times. "It's just a matter of keeping it going at home. ... We're getting contributions from everybody, whether it's a big block, a big save or a timely goal."

Who's Hot -- Pietrangelo, the fourth pick of the 2008 Entry Draft, looks to be finding his scoring touch, had a four-game scoring streak ended Saturday, but had a goal and 4 assists during his recent run, and has been a minus player just once in his last five games. … Kane has four multi-point games in his last seven games, after having three in his first 18 games.

Injury Report -- Blues defenseman Roman Polak (wrist) and forwards T.J. Oshie (ankle) and David Perron (concussion) are mending from long-term injuries. … Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa was injured during Monday's practice after a collision with teammate Nick Boynton, and he's questionable for Tuesday's game. Forward Fernando Pisani also is questionable due to an upper-body injury.

Stat Pack -- St. Louis' Scottrade Center may not jump to mind when hockey fans think of tough road destinations, but Saturday's regulation home loss snapped a 15-game stretch of 60-minute home success dating to March 21 of last season.

Puck Drop -- Blues forward David Perron, who hasn't played since suffering a concussion Nov. 4 against San Jose, has started playing hockey again -- video game hockey.

It might not sound like much, but it's progress.

"It's getting better," Perron told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "A little headache, not much of it, but we're looking to be symptom-free. The last four or five days, it's been staying the same in terms of the headache, but everything in terms of dizziness, I haven't felt anything lately.

"It's been kind of frustrating and disappointing that it's been this slow. But at the same time, I'm still positive and getting my rest and I hope to come back soon. The good thing is, it's getting better."

However, there's no timetable for when Perron might get back on the ice.
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