On Wednesday the Blackhawks will travel to St. Louis for their first of five regular season matchups against the Blues. Last season the Blackhawks beat the Blues in three out of five regular season games.
With the Hawks coming in as the reigning Stanley Cup Champs, medical the Blues are going to be hungry for a win on home ice to make an early season statement. What do you need to know to be prepared for what’s sure to be an amazing game? Read on to find out!
What You Need To Know
- We know how the Hawks fared last season, but how about the Blues? St. Louis finished sixth in the NHL standings last season, second in the Central, clinched a playoff spot as the #4 seed, but got knocked out in the first round by the LA Kings. Much like the Hawks, the Blues have kept their team mostly in tact so expect similar results this season.
- The Blues have won their first two games this season, while the Blackhawks are 1-0 -1 after losing Saturday night in a shootout to Tampa Bay.
- The Blackhawks will be focusing on their power play again this season. We haven’t seen much improvement over last season’s issues.
- St.Louis is a notoriously dirty team so expect to see lots of checking and possibly some fights.
Who to Watch for on the Blues:
- Derek Roy was drafted by St. Louis as their 2nd round pick in 2013 from Vancouver. The 30-year old Canadian center was picked up to beef up the Blues’ offense. He seems to have fit into the team very quickly, having a good showing in their first two games.
- In goal for STL, Jaroslav Halak earned his 17th shutout in the Blues’ second game against the Carolina Panthers, beating the franchise record of 16 shutouts previously held by Glenn Hall.
Who to Watch for on the Hawks:
- Newcomer Michael Kostkais one to watch on the Hawks defense. Not being with the team long doesn’t seem to make much difference for the 27 year old Canadian; he fits like a glove. The Hawks picked him up this summer from Toronto where he spit his time between the Maple Leafs and their AHL team, the Marlies.
- We’ve seen Corey Crawford between the pipes the first two games but we will see him again in St.Loius? Time will tell, but I believe we’ll give Crow a rest and see what Khabibulin (hah-bee-BOO-lihn) has to offer.
Your Take Away Piece
“The Blackhawks have always had a target on their backs in STL but expect that target to be larger now that we’re the reigning Stanley Cup Champs. As a very aggressive team, St.Louis will play a very physical game; they’ll be hungry.”
If you’re planning to head to St.Louis for the game, plan to go to multiple games or pick a bar near your home. Following suit with the Nashville Predators, the Blues aren’t allowing single game ticket purchases for four games this season, including Wednesday’s game and one more Blackhawks vs. Blues game (12/28/2013).
St. Louis’ COO Bruce Affleck said today, “Basically, we see too many red jerseys.” St. Louis native Brandon Bollig said he can “almost look at it as flattery that they want to keep them out that badly.” I, for one, think this policy is ridiculous, but I suppose I can understand the opponent’s fear of losing their home ice advantage to thousands of screaming Hawks fans. We’ll just have to cheer loud enough from Chicago for them to hear us in St. Louis.
You can catch the 7:00 p.m. puck drop on NBC Sports Network. Let’s go Hawks!