Chicago at St. Louis
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 25, 2014
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
A first-round playoff loss to Chicago is still fresh in the minds of the St. Louis Blues, who have a chance to extract some revenge when they host the Blackhawks on Saturday. The big question for the Blues is whether they will be up to the task physically due to a bacterial infection sweeping through the locker room that forced eight players to miss Friday's practice. "I've never seen this before," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "But we're not using that as an excuse for giving up odd-man rushes."
Chicago looks to rebound from its first regulation defeat of the season, a 3-2 setback in Nashville on Thursday night that marked the first game in which the club surrendered more than two goals. Despite the loss, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said his team played its best period of the season "by a mile" in the final 20 minutes against the Predators, pouring 17 shots on goal in a belated comeback attempt. Goaltender Antti Raanta will make his third consecutive start in place of an injured Corey Crawford.TV:
8 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (4-1-1):
While Chicago has outshot each of its last five opponents, a pair of veteran forwards are off to painfully slowly starts. Marian Hossa, an eight-time 30-goal scorer, has been held off the scoresheet in four straight games since his lone goal - and point - against Buffalo on Oct. 11 while 10-time 20-goal scorer Brad Richards had only one assist in his first season with the Blackhawks. Both players have had success against the Blues, with Hossa notching 19 goals and 15 assists in 42 games and Richards collecting three goals and 22 points in 20 contests.ABOUT THE BLUES (2-3-1):
St. Louis pumped in 10 goals in its two victories but has scored a combined four tallies in its four setbacks and been outscored 7-1 in back-to-back losses to Anaheim and Vancouver. The latest struggles are why Steve Ott said the Blues cannot be overly preoccupied with avenging a hit by Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook that knocked captain David Backes out of two playoff games. "I don't think it's ever forgotten," Ott said. "But I think the biggest picture is we're at a point right now in our season where we have to be focused on winning a big game."OVERTIME
1. Blues G Brian Elliott is 4-5-1 with a 2.29 goals-against average versus Chicago.
2. Raanta was pierced for five goals on 25 shots in his only career start against St. Louis.
3. The Blackhawks are averaging a league-high 39.2 shots while the Blues surrender 23.3, second-lowest in the NHL.PREDICTION:
Blackhawks 3, Blues 2
Stats and Records