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Blues at Blackhawks preview: Offense needs to click without Schwartz

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This seems early this year, but Jaden Schwartz is out tonight with an injury and will probably miss tomorrow’s game against the Ducks as well. He got popped with a shot Thursday night and finished the game, but the team’s playing it safe this weekend. It’s not a long-term problem, so that’s good.

With Schwartz out, Chris Thorburn sneaks onto the fourth line with Ivan Barbashev and Robert Thomas, and Sammy Blais will take Schwartz’s spot on the second line.

What’s bad is that after getting outscored 10-5 during their first two games, the Blues put on a scoring clinic against Calgary, winning 5-3. They also netted four goals against the Blackhawks last week. Tarasenko had two of them, but the Blues still dropped the decision 5-4 in overtime. The Blues looked like they had shored up their defense Thursday evening against the Flames before a third period that saw Calgary chip two goals off of the Blues’ lead.

If the offense clicks tonight against the Blackhawks, that’s fantastic - but the defense needs to be better as well.

After starting the season with overtime wins against Ottawa and the Blues, the Blackhawks have now dropped two overtime games, the latest to Minnesota on Thursday night. The trio of Jonathan Toews (five goals), Patrick Kane (four goals) and Alex DeBrincat (four goals) are dangerous and are probably the reason that the Blackhawks have six points to the Blues’ three. Keeping them off of the scoresheet is key. With Cory Crawford out until probably the 18th, the Blackhawks are operating at a clear disadvantage that the Blues could exploit. It would be nice if the Blues could take this one before these two teams play their last game this month on October 27th.