The last two undefeated teams in the Central Division will be squaring off tonight in Chicago. Which squad will walk away with the win?
Both the Blues and Blackhawks might be undefeated, but they won their second games in very different styles. After the Blackhawks blew out the defending Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings 5-2, they took their banner-spoiling show to Phoenix, where they defeated the Coyotes 6-4. Both wins were emphatic. One of the Blues' wins, their first over Detroit 6-0, was more than emphatic. It was a curbstomping. But their second win, yesterday's 4-3 shootout win, was a grind-out. There were some defensive lapses, some inattentive goaltending, and generally the Blues just didn't look as sharp as they did on Saturday.
They'll need to look a lot sharper to take down Marian Hossa and the Chicago Blackhawks. Hossa has a vendetta of sorts against the Blues, apparently -- he has 10 goals and seven assists in 17 games against the Blues, and he's part of the reason that the Blues had some issues against the Blackhawks last season. They won two of the six meetings, losing two others in overtime. It was helpful that the Blues could get extra points against the Hawks (and the Predators) but it doesn't erase the fact that the Blues need to find a way to break through Chicago's sub-standard goaltending.
Is this the end of a seven-game losing streak in Chicago for the Blues? It will be if Vladimir Tarasenko, Andy McDonald, and Alex Steen have anything to say about it. Tarasenko has five points in two games, with three goals and two assists. His uncanny sense and his ability to find anyone on the ice has helped the Blues get four out of four possible points so far. Being in the right place at the right time is key to beating Corey Crawford, tonight's Chicago starter. Starting in net tonight is Brian Elliott. Fresh off of stopping every shot faced, Elliott is going to have to hold off the Blackhawks. He's done a pretty good job of it, but the Blackhawks have found a way to win more often then not.
Every game's a new one, though, and Chicago hasn't had to contend with Frank yet. Let's make it the Blues' first 3-0 start in 20 years.