NHL on NBCSN: ‘Hawks put six-game winning streak on the line in clash with Blues
NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the St. Louis Blues host the Chicago Blackhawks at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.
The Blackhawks and Blues will do battle for the second time since since their first round playoff series last spring.
The first meeting took place on opening night and went heavily in St. Louis’ favor (they won 5-2), but things have changed quite a bit since then.
Since dropping their first two games of the season, the ‘Hawks have taken off. They enter tonight’s game having won six games in row and they’ve suffered just one regulation loss in their last 11 contests.
Chicago’s been so good because of the contributions they’ve received from some of their top players.
Artem Anisimov is second in league scoring with eight goals and 17 points in 13 games, while Patrik Kane is fourth with 13 points in the same number of games. Richard Panik’s chipped in with six goals and as usual, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Artem Anisimov, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook are all performing at a high level.
Corey Crawford’s impact can’t be understated. He’s been in goal for five of the six consecutive wins and he enters tonight’s game with a 2.01 goals-against-average and a .936 save percentage.
The ‘Hawks are making a few changes to their lineup.
With Tyler Motte out for multiple weeks, Andrew Desjardins will make his regular season debut. Desjardins had been out with a lower-body injury.
Rookie Nick Schmaltz, who finished Sunday’s game on the top line with Toews and Kane, will start there against the Blues.
Chicago may be rolling right now, but St. Louis has had the upper hand in this rivalry. They’ve won four of the last six regular season encounters and they also knocked off the Blackhawks in seven games during their first round series last spring.
Since opening the season with three straight wins, the Blues have had plenty of ups and downs, which wasn’t totally unexpected.
They lost key veterans like David Backes, Troy Brouwer and Brian Elliott over the summer and that’s led to some growing pains for some.
Last week, they were blown out by the Rangers (5-0) and the Stars (6-2), but managed to follow that up with back-to-back wins against Columbus and Colorado.
“Right now, they’re playing pretty well, but we’re getting on the right track and we just have to keep going,” forward Robby Fabbri said, per the St. Louis Dispatch. “It’s always fun playing Chicago. Whenever you play them, you think in your head, ‘Game 7 of the playoffs last year,’ and the way the building was. These are always great games.”
The Blues will play three games in the next four nights. After tonight’s game, they’ll travel to Nashville to take on the Predators on Thursday before heading to Columbus to play the Blue Jackets on Saturday night.