Series (Game 1 of 6)

Chicago leads 4-2

Game 1: Wednesday, December 16th
Game 2: Saturday, January 2nd
Game 3: Wednesday, February 3rd
Game 4: Saturday, February 6th
Game 5: Tuesday, March 30th
Game 6: Wednesday, April 7th

Blues 0

(14-13-5, 33 pts)

Blackhawks 3

(21-8-3, 45 pts)

Coverage: NHL

8:30 PM ET, December 16, 2009

United Center, Chicago, Illinois

1 2 3 T
STL 0 0 00
CHI 2 1 03

P. Kane (Blackhawks - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

C. Huet (Blackhawks - G): Saves: 27, Save Pct.: 1.000

T. Brouwer (Blackhawks - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Blues-Blackhawks Preview


Solid goaltending from Cristobal Huet and Antti Niemi has helped the Chicago Blackhawks overcome some offensive struggles of late.

The Blackhawks hope for a second straight successful night from both phases of their game when they host the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews each had a goal and Niemi made 18 saves for his third shutout in seven starts in Chicago's 4-0 home win over Tampa Bay on Sunday.

The victory was the third in four games for the Blackhawks (20-8-3), who broke out after scoring six goals while splitting their previous four contests.

"You want to score more goals," Kane told the Blackhawks' official Web site. "I don't think you can be concerned with the team we have. It might just be a little funk right now."

Chicago has been limited to 15 goals during a 4-3-1 stretch since a dominant 7-2 win at San Jose on Nov 25, but outstanding goaltending has kept it in position to win.

Huet and backup Niemi have combined for an NHL-low 2.02 goals-against average. While it's uncertain who will be in net for the team's first meeting this season with St. Louis, coach Joel Quenneville feels confident no matter who gets the call.

"It's been a nice one-two punch," Quenneville said.

While Huet is 14-7-2 with a 2.18 GAA on the season and 1-4-0 with a 1.84 GAA against St. Louis, Niemi could be rewarded with the start after another stellar effort.

In his second season with Chicago, Niemi is 6-1-1 with a 1.50 GAA and has allowed one goal, posted two shutouts and stopped 80 shots in winning his three starts since Nov. 7. He's never faced St. Louis.

The Blackhawks hope their latest effort will spark an offense that is looking for more consistent production.

Kane will play despite suffering a black eye after being tripped along the boards by Tampa Bay's Matt Smaby on Sunday. Kane's team-leading 10th goal Sunday was his first in 10 games.

"It's not bad," Quenneville said of Kane, who has six goals and five assists in 14 games against St. Louis.

Toews has five goals in seven games, but two in 13 contests versus the Blues, who went 4-1-1 against Chicago and won two of three at the United Center last season.

Andy McDonald and Alex Steen snapped goal droughts of 14 and 12 games, respectively, in St. Louis' 4-3 home win over Calgary on Tuesday.

That victory could provide some momentum for the Blues (14-12-5), who are 8-2-3 on the road where they've won three in a row.

"We talked about putting a 60-minute game together," said T.J. Oshie, who scored the game-winner. "We had our heads on straight."

David Backes scored his third goal in two games and Brad Boyes added three assists for St. Louis. Boyes has three goals in his last five road games and three with eight assists in 15 career contests versus Chicago.

Chris Mason could be back in net after making 20 saves Tuesday to improve to 9-9-4 with a 2.47 GAA. He's 10-8-2 with a 2.39 GAA against Chicago.

Backup Ty Conklin is 5-3-1 with a 2.32 GAA on the season and 3-1-0 with a 2.78 GAA against the Blackhawks.