Game Preview : New Look, Same Smell

Jonathan Daniel

Chicago Blackhawks (57 pts 27-5-3) vs St. Louis Blues (38 pts 18-14-2) 7:30 PM United Center - Chicago, IL. TV: CSN Chicago Radio: WGN 720 AM

Season Series

Date Score W. Goal
Apr 27 '13
Apr 14 '13
Apr 04 '13
Feb 28 '13 CHI 3 at STL 0 J. Toews
Jan 22 '13 STL 2 at CHI 3 V. Stalberg

Are you ready for the second coming of Michal Handzus? Hopefully this run lasts a bit longer than his first stint with the Blackhawks. Well, ready or not, it starts tonight with Handzus playing wing, not center, on the 4th line. Q mentioned that even though he is on the right wing, Handzus will take a few draws tonight. If he can get us a few more wins at the dot during crunch time than it was a good trade. Marian Hossa makes his return to the lineup and will take his spot back on the top line. Michael Frolik will slide down to the 2nd line and fill in for Patrick Sharp, who needs at least one more game off before he makes his comeback. Look for Daniel Carcillo, Jamal Mayers and Sheldon Brookbank to be healthy scratches tonight. Corey Crawford will make his 3rd consecutive start in net. This should be a surprise considering he is 8-1-1 against the Blues in his career with a 2.69 GAA and a .900 save %.

Once the lockout ended the Blues were the "sexy" pick to make it out of the Western Conference this year. There isn't anything too sexy about 38 points and being one point out of the 8th and final playoff spot. St Louis nearly won the President's Trophy last season because their goalie tandem of Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak played out of their damn minds. This year they have been bad and hurt. Welcome back to real life! Tonight we will see Elliot in net, who is 1-3-1 with a 2.38 GAA and .917 save % in 5 career starts versus the Blackhawks. The Blues acquired veteran, record setting defenseman Jay Bouwmeester from the Flames on Tuesday night. Bouwmeester will add to his record of 750 regular season games without a playoff appearence, more than any other player in the history of the game. The Blues just might have sealed their post season fate with the acquisition of the overrated Bouwmeester. St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong actually used the word "elite" to describe Bouwmeester, in between hits from the bong.

Probable Blackhawks lineup

Forwards

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Patrick Kane - Dave Bolland - Michael Frolik
Brandon Bollig - Marcus Kruger - Michal Handzus

Defensive Pairings

Nick Leddy- Michal Rozsival

Goaltender

Corey Crawford 15-4-3, 1.97 GAA, .925 save %, 2 SO

Injuries

Patrick Sharp (shoulder) OUT

Leading Scorers

Player GP G A P +/- PIM PP GW
P. Kane 35 19 24 43 13 4 8 2
J. Toews 35 17 19 36 20 23 2 3
M. Hossa 28 13 10 23 11 14 3 4
D. Keith 35 2 19 21 14 29 1 0
B. Saad 34 7 13 20 12 8 0 2

Probable Blues Lineup

Forwards

Defensive Pairings

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Goaltender

Brian Elliot 4-6-1, 3.50 GAA, .859 save %, 0 SO

Injuries

T.J. Oshie (foot) OUT, Jaroslav Halak (groin) OUT

Leading Scorers

Player GP G A P +/- PIM PP GW
C. Stewart 34 15 14 29 2 36 3 3
D. Perron 34 9 13 22 -1 36 2 2
A. Steen 26 6 16 22 3 6 2 2
K. Shattenkirk 34 3 18 21 2 12 2 0
P. Berglund 34 14 6 20 -3 6 4 2

STL
Stats
CHI
34 GP 35
18 W 27
14 L 5
2 OT 3
38 P 57
0.559 P% 0.814
2.82 G/G 3.26
2.74 GA/G 2.09
22.2 PP% 17.5
82.9 PK% 84.9
28.3 S/G 31.2
24.1 SA/G 26.6
50.2 FO% 50.2



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