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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:23 am 
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The Chicago Blackhawks can attest to the fact that teams around the NHL haven't had the best luck coming out of their week off.

The St. Louis Blues will soon find out whether the same applies to them.

The Blues will return from their hiatus Sunday when they travel to Chicago to face the Blackhawks, who have won eight of their last nine games. Chicago's lone hiccup over that stretch was a loss to Edmonton in its first game back on the ice. The Blackhawks won three straight games since, including a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.

The Blackhawks' offense is soaring right now as Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane posted hat tricks in the last two games. On Friday, Chicago added to its offensive depth when they acquired forward Tomas Jurco from the Detroit Red Wings. Jurco played in only 16 games this season and hasn't registered a point, and had made it clear to management that he wanted to go elsewhere.

"We'll be patient with him, but we really think there's a good fit there looking at his skills and the style of hockey we play," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman told reporters Friday.

Jurco joins a Blackhawks' offense that has gotten balance throughout its four lines. But the most effective line has been the unit of Toews, Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik. While Toews was the headliner against Arizona, Schmaltz had a goal and an assist.

With the top line flourishing, Schmaltz's confidence is taking a leap as well.

"I feel like I'm playing at a high level, where I need to be," Schmaltz told CSN Chicago. "But I can't get happy or complacent in my game. I have to keep working and keep that level as high as possible."

The Blackhawks face St. Louis without defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who left Thursday's game with an upper body injury. Hjalmarsson is listed as day-to-day as coach Joel Quenneville told reporters Saturday the injury -- believed to be a back ailment -- isn't serious.

"He knows his body and he knows when he can fight through certain things," Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Giving him enough time to get back to where he's basically 100 percent is where we want to be. ... With him he can go through anything. But let's make sure at this time of the year that he recovers from this."

While it's uncertain how the Blues will come out out of the break, their road ahead should provide some relief. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Blues' final 22 opponents won only 44 percent of their games.

On Friday, the Blues agreed to a five-year extension with center Patrik Berglund, who scored 17 goals this season -- 16 in the last 30 games.

But with Berglund locked up and heading into the season's stretch run, the Blues' opening test Sunday won't be nearly as easy as the Blackhawks appear to be back in a groove after stumbling out of the gates coming off the break.

Yet, Blues center Paul Stastny isn't overly concerned with the result of one game and said the bigger focus needs to remain on how St. Louis plays in the near future.

"It's not about the next game, it's about how you feel 10-15 games down the road," Stastny said this week, according to the Post-Dispatch. "I think sometimes people look at the small picture instead of the big picture and that's more big picture, long term."
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Blues • The teams have split their four meetings so far, with the Blues winning the one game in Chicago, also the season opener, 5-2. The Blues have won the season series from the Blackhawks the past three seasons. … Vladimir Tarasenko has 12 goals in 19 career games against Chicago, including four this season. Patrik Berglund has three goals against Chicago this season.

Blackhawks • Chicago has won eight of its past nine games, with the only loss coming to Edmonton in its first game back off its bye. That’s the only game in the past nine where they’ve scored less than four goals; in the past three, they’ve had hat tricks by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Kane is fourth in the league in points with 63 and fourth in assists with 40.

Injuries • Blues – F Robby Fabbri (knee) and F Ivan Barbashev (upper body) are out. Blackhawks – D Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) is out.


This day in history:
1981 84 penalties (406 mins) assessed for a brawl between North Stars and Bruins
1984 Nordique's Mario Gosselin becomes 16th goaltender to have a shutout in his firt NHL game in 5-0 win over Blues
1989 Mario Lemieux has three assists becoming 3rd NHL player to reach 100 assists (Orr, Gretzky) in 8-6 loss to Whalers
1994 Brendan Shanahan scores hat trick and adds two assists in Blues 11-1 win over Ottawa Senators

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:01 pm 
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:hawkssuck:

2 points, please. :letsgoblues:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:02 pm 
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Let the selling begin. Shattenkirk won't be a Blue by this time tomorrow night.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:10 pm 
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I always want to beat the Hawks, but a bad loss here might be what gets Army's head out of his ass

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:13 pm 
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Great shot by Paajarvi!!!! Blues back within one. Too bad Darling made that super save earlier! They should be tied.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:52 pm 
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Great kill, giving up no decent shot!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:03 pm 
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Pietrangelo sets up a beautiful play for himself, and makes no mistake!!! Blues tie it at 2!!!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:07 pm 
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Tarasenko posts it in the upper corner. Blues should be ahead 4-2.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:09 pm 
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Better 2nd than 1st. Better 3rd than The Hawks???

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:48 pm 
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Great glove save by Allen to preserve the tie!!!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:52 pm 
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Whelp... :facepalm:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:55 pm 
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Bouwmeester just sucks

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:58 pm 
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Sell!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:03 pm 
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The Blues had several good chances on that 6 on 5 (for a change). Darling was very, very good. The Blues should have won this game.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:56 pm 
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Robb_K wrote:
The Blues should have won this game.

This should be stitched on a banner and hung from the rafters at Scottrade Center.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:22 pm 
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Had the Blues showed up for the 1st period, like basically every team coming off of a break has not, they probably would have won this game. That 1st goal - rusty coaching, too. Why in the hell, with your team just coming off a long time off, and an offensive zone faceoff, did Yeo have Edmundson and Parayko switch sides for that draw??

I know the answer is with Berglund being a leftie, they were trying to set up the face-off win to Parayko for the shot near the center of the ice at the blueline. Well, losing the faceoff left defensemen on the wrong side of the ice with sticks on the wrong side to deny the passes across that led to the goal against. Don't do fancy crap, coach, when your team isn't playing well, yet, and the team is lining up against the oppositions best scorer at the moment (Toews). Keep it basic, which Yeo did not on that faceoff. I did notice that alignment never happened again on Blues offensive zone faceoffs.

While some seem to think Yeo is doing fine, I keep seeing the Blues making mistakes directly related to coaching decisions - as in who is on the ice and how they lineup.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:47 am 
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I was at the game last night and I thought Allen played very well. None of the 3 goals he let in were soft and 2 of them he was hung out to dry and had no chance on. Your D is leaving huge gaps and shooting lanes open - didn't see that in our playoff meeting last April. Then again it's only the regular season and it appears we will be facing each other again in the first round.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:29 am 
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Kerfuffle wrote:
I was at the game last night and I thought Allen played very well. None of the 3 goals he let in were soft and 2 of them he was hung out to dry and had no chance on. Your D is leaving huge gaps and shooting lanes open - didn't see that in our playoff meeting last April. Then again it's only the regular season and it appears we will be facing each other again in the first round.


Too early to tell- there are still 20 games to go. Right now the Blues are in the 2nd Wild Card spot which means, if the playoffs started today, we would play the Wild (top team in the West). There are enough teams within a few points of each other for those key playoff positions (#1 in the Conference, division leader, 3rd seed, and wild card) that it is impossible to predict who will play whom at this point.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:41 pm 
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Kerfuffle wrote:
Your D is leaving huge gaps and shooting lanes open


They had actually improved on taking away those huge gaps and shooting lanes in 10 of the 11 games before the break.

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