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Blackhawks vs. Blues preview: Central Divison Clash

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Chicago looks to close gap on second-place St. Louis

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Corey Crawford will start and Patrick Kane and Johnny Oduya will play when the Chicago Blackhwaks visit the St. Louis Blues on Sunday at the Scotttrade Center.

Kane and Oduya were off Saturday during practice. Daniel Carcillo, who returned from a six-game suspension Friday, is also expected to play against the second-place Blues.

Kane scored the Blackhawks' first goal in almost 150 minutes in the second period, then set up Brandon Saad for the game-winner in overtime for a 2-1 win over the Jets. The 26-year-old superstar is in a three-way tie for the league in scoring with 58 points.

The Blackhawks and Blues have split the season series so far; St. Louis won 3-2 at home in October, while Chicago skated away with a 4-1 win at the United Center on Dec. 3. Kane scored twice and Kris Versteeg had a goal with two assists. Kane has seven points in his last four regular-season outings against the Blues.

After Sunday, the teams don't meet until April, when the Blues will play two of their final four games against the Blackhawks. Crawford is 12-3-2 with a 1.72 goals-against average in his last 17 outings against the Blues, including the playoffs. He did not play in either match earlier this season.

Opponent Breakdown: St. Louis Blues

St. Louis is coming off a 7-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night to snap a seven-game win streak.

Brian Elliot was pulled Friday after allowing four goals on 14 shots. Paul Stastny scored the lone Blues' goal on a power-play to increase his point streak (1G, 3A) to four games.

Vladimir Tarasenko provides the offensive firepower for the Blues, scoring 27 goals for sixth best in the league. The 23-year-old superstar leads the team with 62 points for sixth best in the league.

The Blues are without defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who is expected to have abdominal surgery next week. St. Louis is just 1 for 9 on power plays since Shattenkirk's injury. They will also be without Forward Jori Lehtera, who has missed five games with concussion symptoms, and Chris Porter, who has missed 16 games.

The Blues are 8-0-1 in their last nine at home. Elliot will start, he is 5-5-1 with a 2.27 GAA and .919 save percentage against Chicago. However, he is 7-0-1 with a 1.79 GAA in his last eight at home.

Injury Report

ChicagoKris Versteeg (hand) and Trevor van Riemsdyk (knee)

St. Louis: Kevin Shattenkirk (abdominal surgery), Jori Lehtera (concussion) and Chris Porter (ankle)

Game Information

When: 11:30 a.m. CT

Where: Scottrade Center

TV: NBC

Radio: WGN-720

St. Louis' Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode"

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