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Blues-Blackhawks Preview

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One day after a difficult last-minute loss and an injury to their leading scorer, the Chicago Blackhawks return home Saturday to face the St. Louis Blues.

Chicago (4-3) squandered two third-period leads Friday and lost 5-4 to Dallas on a goal by Philippe Boucher with 40 seconds to play.

The Blackhawks started the third leading 3-1, but the Stars scored twice in a 45-second span. Martin Lapointe gave Chicago a 4-3 lead with 4:29 remaining, but backup goaltender Brian Boucher allowed a pair of goals 34 seconds apart for his second loss in as many starts.

"It was a monumental collapse," Brian Boucher said. "It's a terrible loss. It stinks to lose like that. Hopefully we'll rebound."

The Blackhawks, though, may have sustained a bigger blow with the loss of right wing Martin Havlat, who had to be helped to the locker room after suffering an ankle injury in the third period. X-rays taken after the game found no break, but he is expected to miss this game while being further evaluated in Chicago.

Havlat, Chicago's marquee offseason acquisition, leads the Hawks with seven goals and 13 points through seven games.

The Blackhawks are looking to win three consecutive games at the United Center for the first time since a season-high, four-game home winning streak from Nov. 13-Dec. 16, 2005. But they may have a difficult time against St. Louis without Havlat, who scored two goals in a 4-3 loss last Saturday to the Blues.

Radek Dvorak netted the game-winner in the third period for the Blues, who won just once in four games last season at the United Center.

The Blues (2-3-2) hope to rebound from a last-second 3-2 overtime loss Friday to Vancouver and avoid their second three-game losing streak in the young season. They lost three in a row on the road Oct. 5-9 to open the season, Friday's loss extended their current road slide to four games (0-2-2).

The Blues have not lost five consecutive road games since dropping nine in a row from March 16-April 18. They were a league-worst 9-23-9 on the road last season.

Curtis Sanford allowed a goal by Sami Salo with under one second left in overtime, but the Blues refused to leave the ice, claiming time had expired. The referees reviewed the goal and deemed it came before time expired.

"It would have been nice to get into a shootout and see where it would take you," Blues coach Mike Kitchen said.

St. Louis squandered a chance to win the game in regulation, when Markus Naslund tied it at 2 with 26 seconds remaining to complete a two-goal comeback and force overtime.

Sanford made 36 saves in the loss, but is not expected to start games in back-to-back nights. He is 1-1 with a 4.69 goals-against average and .774 save percentage in two starts against Chicago - both last season.

Manny Legace, who will likely start this game, has won five of his last six starts (5-0) against Chicago with a 2.66 GAA.

He has struggled so far in his first season with the Blues, going 2-2-1 with a 3.55 GAA in five starts.

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