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Blackhawks try for first win of season vs. Blues

by Brian Compton

BLUES (47-14-7) at BLACKHAWKS (39-15-15)


Last 10: St. Louis 8-1-1; Chicago 4-5-1

Season series: This is the fourth of five games between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks. The Blues are 3-0-0 against the Blackhawks this season, with the past two victories coming in the shootout.

Big story: Chicago likely needs this one if it plans on remaining in the Central Division race. The Blues enter the game eight points ahead of the Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche; Colorado and Chicago are tied with 93 points apiece, but the Avalanche are ahead because they have five more non-shootout victories.

Team Scope:

Blues: After earning a 3-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Scottrade Center on Monday, the Blues held an optional skate Tuesday morning. Right wing T.J. Oshie did not participate; his wife gave birth to the couple's first child Monday. However, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Oshie was expected to travel with the team to Chicago and be in the lineup Wednesday night.

Only six players participated in the skate Tuesday, according to the Post-Dispatch. One of them was forward Magnus Paajarvi, who is working his way back from an upper-body injury.

"Been resting and been doing some activity," Paajarvi told the newspaper. "It was nice to get back and it feels better for sure."

Blackhawks: Chicago did get a point Tuesday night, but couldn't get a second in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Now the Blackhawks face the challenge of finally solving the Blues, whom they haven't beaten in three attempts this season.

"Right now they're the best team in the League," said Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith, who scored his first goal in 30 games Tuesday. "It's going to be a fun game, a good challenge. They've got a lot of depth on that team. It seems like they've been building that team, that same group of guys for three or four years now, and you know they're going to be hungry."

Who's hot: Blues center David Backes scored twice Monday and has a three-game point streak( two goals, two assists). … Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in as many games and Andrew Shaw has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past six. Forward Marian Hossa has one goal and three assists in his past two.

Injury report: The Blues are expected to be without forwards Paajarvi and Vladimir Tarasenko (hand), along with defenseman Jordan Leopold (flu). … Forward Brandon Saad (upper body) and goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (shoulder) are out for the Blackhawks.

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