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Preview: Blackhawks at Blues

Chicago after seventh straight win; Nail Yakupov scratched again for St. Louis

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

BLACKHAWKS (9-3-1) at BLUES (7-4-2)

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV


Blackhawks team scope

The Chicago Blackhawks are after their seventh straight victory. They have points in eight straight games (7-0-1) and 10 of their past 11 (9-1-1). Center Artem Anisimov has eight goals and 17 points during a 12-game point streak. "It's nice to see guys like [Anisimov] get the start that he has," captain Jonathan Toews said. "We're all talking like we want him to keep it up, but I don't think it should even be looked at that way. I think he's playing good hockey and he's getting the chances that he deserves." Left wing Andrew Desjardins returns from a foot injury and will step in for Tyler Motte (lower body), who will miss the next 2-3 weeks. Desjardins will play his first game of the season. "It seems like it's been a long road to get into 100 percent," he said. "I'm just excited to get back out there. Obviously the team's playing well and I just want to do my part." Rookie Nick Schmaltz will get a shot at playing with Toews and Patrick Kane on the top line after having some shifts with them against the Dallas Stars on Sunday. "He's certainly got good offensive ability as far as play recognition, handling the puck," coach Joel Quenneville said of Schmaltz. "I think he's got some scoring ability. Playing with those two guys, I think that plays to his strengths."


Blues team scope

St. Louis Blues right wing Nail Yakupov will be a healthy scratch for a third straight game. Yakupov, who has two goals and two assists in six games after being acquired in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 7, did not have a point the past five games he played. "It's not my decision I'm not playing," Yakupov said. "Obviously I couldn't be happy about it. So, it's a coach's decision and nothing I can do about it. ... The four lines are playing good, winning the games and it's coach's decision to not put me in the lineup. So I can't say anything." Coach Ken Hitchcock said Yakupov doesn't need to change anything in his game. "He just needs to be ready when it's his turn," Hitchcock said. "Easy thing for a coach to say that we're a team of 14 forwards." Hitchcock won't change anything aside from defenseman Petteri Lindbohm replacing Joel Edmundson (upper body) in his season debut. The Blues have won two straight and trail the Blackhawks by three points in the Central Division standings. 


Blackhawks projected lineup

Nick Schmaltz -- Jonathan Toews -- Patrick Kane

Artemi Panarin -- Artem Anisimov -- Marian Hossa

Ryan Hartman -- Marcus Kruger -- Richard Panik

Andrew Desjardins -- Dennis Rasmussen -- Jordin Tootoo

Duncan Keith -- Brian Campbell

Michal Kempny -- Brent Seabrook

Gustav Forsling -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Vinnie Hinostroza, Michal Rozsival

Injured: Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body), Tyler Motte (lower body)


Blues projected lineup

Alexander Steen -- Patrik Berglund -- David Perron

Jaden Schwartz -- Jori Lehtera -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Robby Fabbri -- Paul Stastny -- Dmitrij Jaskin

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Petteri Lindbohm -- Colton Parayko

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Nail Yakupov

Injured: Robert Bortuzzo (lower body), Joel Edmundson (upper body)


Status report

Toews came up limping after a collision with Hartman in a morning skate drill but said everything's "all good."... Van Riemsdyk is skating on his own and Quenneville said the Blackhawks should know by the end of the week whether he'll be able to join them at some point on their annual circus trip. ... Hinostroza will be a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game and eighth time this season. ... Rozsival will be scratched for the fourth consecutive game after playing in the previous four. ... Hartman had been playing right wing on the third line before Motte's injury and Panik had been playing left wing on the top line. ... Lindbohm will play with Parayko in Edmundson's absence.


Who's hot

Kane has three goals and four assists during a four-game point streak. ... Hossa has five goals and two assists in his past six games. ... Toews has a three-game goal scoring streak and has five points in three games. ... Allen is 3-0-1 with a 0.98 goals-against average and .959 save percentage with one shutout at home this season. ... Steen has an assist in three straight games. ... Shattenkirk has four assists in his past two games.

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