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GAME: St. Louis Blues (29-23-7-1) at Chicago Blackhawks (16-31-7-5).

TIME: Sunday, 3 p.m. EST.

After getting outclassed by one of the NHL's best teams, the St. Louis Blues will look to get back into the win column when they face the worst team in the Western Conference - the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blues opened a five-game road trip Friday with a 5-1 loss to Detroit, snapping their three-game win streak.

Doug Weight scored in the second period for St. Louis, which went 0-for-5 on the power play while allowing two power-play goals and one short-handed.

"Our power play took away everything we could have achieved," Blues coach Joel Quenneville said. "We gave up a short-handed goal, two power-play goals and all of them could have been prevented."

Quenneville decided to start backup goalie Reinhard Divis instead of Chris Osgood, who had won his last three starts. Divis allowed three goals or more for the seventh time in 10 games this season.

Sunday's game is one that the Blues, battling several teams for one of the final four playoff berths in the West, badly need to win. After facing lowly Chicago, St. Louis concludes the trip with games against Colorado, Vancouver and San Jose - three of the league's top teams.

Getting production from the power play in road games would certainly help the Blues solidify their grip on a playoff spot. They are 1-for-40 with a manpower advantage on the road in the past month.

The final six weeks of the season will be a challenge for the Blackhawks, who have no shot at the playoffs and have traded captain Alex Zhamnov and leading scorer Steve Sullivan in the past week.

Hours after learning Zhamnov had been traded to Philadelphia, Chicago allowed two goals in each period in a 6-3 loss to visiting San Jose on Thursday.

"(The trade) should be a positive," Chicago's Tuomo Ruutu said. "Everyone should stand up a little more. We didn't. I promise that won't happen again, ever."

While the Blackhawks only got two draft picks for Sullivan, they received defenseman Jim Vandermeer, center Colin Fraser and another draft pick for Zhamnov. Vandermeer is expected to make his Blackhawks debut Sunday.

"I may be coming from a first-place team to one that's battling, and I'll do what I can do," Vandermeer said. "I can't replace anybody. But I know that everybody looks at the new guy to see what he can do. I expect that."

After allowing four goals during a personal three-game win streak, rookie Craig Anderson has surrendered nine in his past two starts.

STANDINGS: Blues - 66 points, 3rd place, 14 PB, Central Division. Blackhawks - 44 points, 5th place, 36 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blues - Keith Tkachuk, 24 goals and 56 points; Weight, 40 assists; Mike Danton, 136 PIM. Blackhawks - Mark Bell, 17 goals, 22 assists and 39 points; Scott Nichol, 106 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 20): Blues - Power play: 17.4 percent (46 for 264), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.8 percent (249 for 297), 19th. Blackhawks - Power play: 12.5 percent (33 for 265), 28th. Penalty killing: 85.6 percent (237 for 277), 4th.

GOALTENDERS: Blues - Osgood (22-18-5, 2 SO, 2.35 GAA); Divis (3-3-1, 3.37). Blackhawks - Anderson (4-14-0, 1, 2.89); Adam Munro (no appearances).

SEASON SERIES: Blackhawks, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 12; Blues, 7-4. At St. Louis, Chris Pronger scored two goals and set up another, and Danton added a pair of goals for the Blues.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blues - 11-15-2-1 on the road; Blackhawks - 11-9-4-4 at home.

Associated Press
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