Series (Game 4 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

Blackhawks 2

(38-15-5, 81 pts)

Blues 1

(25-24-9, 59 pts)

8:00 PM ET, February 6, 2010

Scottrade Center, Saint Louis, Missouri

1 2 3 T
CHI 2 0 02
STL 0 0 11

A. Niemi (Blackhawks - G): Saves: 34, Save Pct.: .971

J. Toews (Blackhawks - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

A. Steen (Blues - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Blackhawks-Blues Preview


The Chicago Blackhawks waited over two weeks to return home and continue their dominance in front of sellout crowds. Instead, they lost twice and are on their longest slide in almost a year.

The Central Division-leading Blackhawks will try to gain a measure of revenge for one of those defeats Saturday night when they visit the St. Louis Blues.

Chicago (37-15-5) went 5-3-0 during a two-week road trip, but ended that swing with a 4-2 defeat at Carolina last Saturday.

A return home appeared to be an ideal opportunity to rebound, but the Blackhawks fell 3-2 to the Blues (25-23-9) on Wednesday before losing 2-1 in a shootout to Phoenix on Friday in front of their 79th consecutive sellout crowd.

It's Chicago's longest slide since dropping five in a row from March 13-20.

"I don't know what's wrong with us," said captain Jonathan Toews, who had one assist in the last two games after getting four goals and four assists in the prior eight. "We've got to find a way to use that crowd and get energy going and talk to each other on the bench and recognize our mistakes and go out there and have better shifts afterward, and we're not doing that."

Despite their recent slide, the Blackhawks are comfortably leading the division by 13 points over second-place Nashville. However, coach Joel Quenneville feels the current stretch may be advantageous.

"I think all year long things have been rather smooth and now it's a good test for us to try to recapture some momentum," Quenneville said.

A return to the road could help the Blackhawks do that, but they won't be away from Chicago long. After visiting St. Louis, they'll play two of three at home before the Olympic break from Feb. 15-28.

Some increased production from Patrick Kane, the team leader with 22 goals and 61 points, could also help. The right wing, who will play for Team USA in Vancouver, has one goal in six games and just three in 13. He scored against the Blues on Wednesday, but came up empty on two shots plus his shootout attempt Friday.

Kane has two goals and two assists in eight games at St. Louis.

The Blackhawks won the other two season meetings with the Blues, including a 6-3 road victory Jan. 2.

St. Louis failed to build on any momentum Wednesday's win may have created, falling 4-2 to San Jose at home. The Blues have alternated wins and losses in their last seven games (3-2-2).

The Blues will likely have Chris Mason back in net after he was rested in favor of Ty Conklin, who made 27 saves against the Sharks.

Conklin's struggles at home may make that decision even easier. He's lost all six starts at Scottrade Center, posting a 4.45 goals-against average compared to 7-2-1 with a 1.70 GAA and three shutouts on the road.

"I don't think I need to explain it or describe it, it's pretty self-explanatory really," Conklin said. "I think it just comes down to making the extra save."

Mason came up big at Chicago on Wednesday, making 13 of his 32 saves in third period. He's won three of his last four meetings with the Blackhawks behind a 1.25 GAA while posting two shutouts, including a 22-save performance at home in a 1-0 win on Feb. 13 of last season.

Right wing David Backes, a member of Team Canada who has 13 goals, scored twice against Chicago on Wednesday, but was held off the scoresheet the following night.