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Blackhawks at Blues Preview: Hawks struggles continue to snowball

Chicago is still playing painfully bad hockey.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The last time that the Blues and Blackhawks met, the Blues embarrassed the Hawks on home ice 4-0. As shouts of “LET’S GO BLUES” echoed in the United Center to close the games, many fans on Twitter pointed out that it wasn’t long ago that same scenario happened in reverse in the then Scottrade Center.

It’s nice how times have changed. Hopefully the Blues can continue to remind the Hawks of that fact tonight, as Chicago visits St. Louis for the first time this season. It’s abnormal for the Blackhawks to be visiting for the first time in December; perhaps the NHL’s schedule-makers wanted to save the team from the eventual blow of dealing with their rivals on home ice so soon after the Blues won the Stanley Cup.

Since the Blues’ 4-0 victory, neither team has been sturdy on their feet. The Blackhawks are 2-3, though those two wins required extra time against the Bruins and a shoot out against the awful New Jersey Devils, respectively. The Blues have been 1-3, with the one win in that stretch coming Thursday night at home against the Vegas Golden Knights. It was a statement win that blew the three game losing streak monkey off of the Blues’ back, but one win isn’t enough. Another dominant, statement win against the Blackhawks at home would help jerk them further out of some December doldrums.

Carl Gunnarsson was injured Thursday night and has been sent to the IR with an upper body injury. The Blues recalled Niko Mikkola from the San Antonio Rampage, but don’t expect to see him in tonight with a healthy Robert Bortuzzo. Vince Dunn got a good talking to by Craig Berube the other day at practice, so tonight he should be one to keep an eye on:

Chief has a way of lighting a fire under players’ asses.

The Hawks should be icing a full lineup card tonight as opposed to the last time that the Blues faced them, but I’m not sure how much good that will do. They’re sitting in last place in the Central, fresh off of a 5-2 loss to the Coyotes in Arizona. Alexander Steen and Zach Sanford could be returning tonight, which adds insult to injury to a Blackhawks team that probably really just wants a damn break right about now.

They’re not getting it.