TRAFFLIC ALERT: With Game 5 vs. Chicago and a 7:15 p.m. Cardinals / Pirates matchup down the street at Busch Stadium, we encourage fans to allow plenty of extra time for travel to the game. Head downtown early and check out the pregame rally outside Scottrade Center so you don't miss a minute of Game 5.
BLACKHAWKS at BLUES
(Best-of-7 series tied, 2-2)
TV: NBCSN, CBC, RDS2, FS-MW, CSN-CH
Big story: The series is heading back to St. Louis for Game 5 on Friday at Scottrade Center with a completely different feeling to it after the Chicago Blackhawks held serve in two games at United Center to draw even with the St. Louis Blues.
Chicago is now looking for its first series lead despite being winless in St. Louis after five games this season (three in the regular season).
"We know this team loves to play in their home building," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Thursday. "They're a really tough team to play when they're at home with their own crowd. So we'll be prepared for that, but at the same time we feel like we were pretty close to finding a way to win both times we were there in their building [in Game 1 and Game 2]. Hopefully this time is the time we can find a way to crack through and get that win there."
St. Louis is reeling a bit. The gut-wrenching loss Wednesday followed up a missed chance to go up 3-0 in the series in Game 3, when the Blues lost 2-0 despite outplaying the Blackhawks for much of the game.
Blackhawks: Once again, they've taken a statistically tough spot and turned it upside down. After coming back from a 3-1 series deficit in the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals to beat the Detroit Red Wings, on their way to a Stanley Cup championship, the Blackhawks have climbed out of another daunting hole against the Blues.
It's now a best-of-3 series and Chicago looks to be in pretty good shape with Kane and captain Jonathan Toews back in elite form following late-season injuries.
"I think the odds are in our favor right now," forward Andrew Shaw said. "The last two games have been huge for us. We had a good push, the push we needed, and I think the guys are excited to get the next one started."
This is the last game top-pairing defenseman Brent Seabrook must sit out while serving a three-game suspension for an illegal hit in Game 2 that injured Blues captain David Backes.
Blues: Once again, much of the pre-game focus will focus on Backes' health. He missed both games in Chicago and didn't skate Thursday. He remains a question mark heading into a pivotal Game 5.
The Blues have lost the momentum in the series, but the bright side is two of the final three games, if three are necessary, will be on home ice.
"We knew going there [to United Center] that it was going to be tough," defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "It's not the easiest place to play. We still have home ice, we had a couple close games. It's not been one-sided games or anything like that. You just keep going. It's a three-game series now and that's the way you approach it."
After going 1-for-8 on the power play in the past two games at United Center, the Blues have only scored twice in the series with the man-advantage in 21 opportunities, a paltry 9.5 percent success rate. That probably needs to improve to win the series.
Who's hot: Kane, the Blackhawks' elite right wing, has three goals and one assist in the series after scoring twice and assisting on a goal by Shaw in Game 4. … St. Louis forward Vladimir Tarasenko has scored four times in the series after scoring two of the Blues' three goals Wednesday.
Injury report: Backes remains questionable for the Blues and forward Brenden Morrow (lower-body) is out for the remainder of the series. … The Blackhawks are healthy.