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Blues at Blackhawks preview

St. Louis can extend lead in Central Division; Chicago six points out of first wild card from West

by Brandon Cain / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

BLUES (40-18-10) at BLACKHAWKS (31-29-8)

7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN

 

The Game

The St. Louis Blues can widen their Central Division lead when they play the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Sunday.

The Blues are 8-1-0 in their past nine after a five-game winless streak (0-3-2) and first in the Central Division and Western Conference, two points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche.

St. Louis can sweep the season series against Chicago for the first time. The Blues won 4-0 at United Center on Dec. 2 and 4-3 and 6-5 at Enterprise Center on Dec. 14 and Feb. 25, respectively.

The Blackhawks, 4-1-0 in their past five after going 1-4-0 in their previous five, trail the Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets by six points for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

 

Players to watch

Blues center Brayden Schenn has eight points (five goals, three assists) in a six-game point streak.

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has four points (three goals, one assist) during a three-game goal/point streak.

 

They said it

"We want to get off to a better start than we have against [the Blackhawks] in the past. We've given them a little too much and have had to come from behind. We want to come out and match the intensity and kind of take control of that game early with our details and such." -- Blues forward Ryan O'Reilly

"The focus is on getting two points and bringing some energy. We know it'll be a big test, but I think we've been pretty good at home here lately (three straight wins), so we've got to keep that going." -- Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton

 

Blues projected lineup

Zach Sanford -- Ryan O'Reilly -- David Perron

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Sammy Blais

Alexander Steen -- Robert Thomas -- Tyler Bozak

Mackenzie MacEachern -- Oskar Sundqvist -- Ivan Barbashev

Carl Gunnarsson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Marco Scandella -- Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Troy Brouwer, Jacob de la Rose, Jordan Kyrou

Injured: Jay Bouwmeester (cardiac episode), Justin Faulk (upper body), Vladimir Tarasenko (left shoulder)

 

Blackhawks projected lineup

Dominik Kubalik -- Jonathan Toews -- Brandon Saad

Alex Nylander -- Dylan Strome -- Patrick Kane

Alex DeBrincat -- Kirby Dach -- Drake Caggiula

Matthew Highmore -- David Kampf -- Ryan Carpenter

Duncan Keith -- Adam Boqvist

Olli Maatta -- Slater Koekkoek

Lucas Carlsson -- Connor Murphy

Corey Crawford

Malcolm Subban

Scratched: Nick Seeler

Injured: Lucas Carlsson (concussion protocol), Calvin de Haan (right shoulder), Brent Seabrook (right shoulder/left and right hip), Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol), Zack Smith (back)

 

Status report

The Blues did not hold a morning skate. … Faulk, a defenseman, is a game-time decision. … Boqvist is expected to play after missing Chicago's 2-1 loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. … Crawford will make his ninth straight start.

 

Stat pack

Binnington is 6-1-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and two shutouts in his past seven games. … O'Reilly has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past five games. … The Blackhawks are 0-for-10 on the power play in their past four games.

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