The Chicago Blackhawks may have given some fans of Central Division teams a bit of a false sense of complacency with their 3-3-1 start. They looked flat, and maaaaybe - just maybe! - time and the salary cap had caught up with them!
The Blackhawks have gone on a holy tear, winning six games and climbing back up to the top of the Central Division, three points ahead of the Blues. The fact that the margin is so close - that a win tonight puts the Blues within a point despite their scoring drought - is more a testament to the decidedly un-Central play of the rest of the teams.
The Blackhawks are being led by Corey Crawford in goal, who would really like to shake the perception that he’s really not that good. He’s doing a solid job of it with a 2.01 GAA and a .936 save percentage. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill has improved too with their play, though a good portion of those early season statistical woes were caused by the Blues in the opening night 5-3 victory.
What do the Blues have going for them? Well, Jake Allen is back in net and Joel Edmundson is broken. In his place, recently healed Petteri Lindbohm has been called up and is good to go. He recently returned to action after a bout of muscle stiffness left him sidelined.
If the Blues continue the pressure and convert on scoring chances - which they haven’t really had a shortage of - they can force the Blackhawks to give up at least one of their two games at Scottrade.
Score early, score often.
If you need a stream of tonight’s game, hit up NBC’s Live Extra app or head over to the site and log-on to your cable subscriber to listen to Doc, Pierre, and the rest of the crew try to pronounce player names.