St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks: Game Preview and Opponent Outlook


As the St. Louis Blues continue to trudge through the month of October, they’ll face another challenge on Saturday night as they welcome their fierce rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks, to Scottrade Center for the first time this season and face off against them for the first time since losing to them in a first round playoff series last year.

The Blues have only scored one goal in their last 120 minutes of play and will need to figure things out on Saturday if they want to compete, as the Blackhawks are averaging three goals per game this season and have historically performed well offensively versus the Blues. Either way, the Blues will be helped by the fact that Chicago’s primary goalie, Corey Crawford, is out with an injury. They may be at a particular advantage if coach Joel Quenneville decides to give new goaltender Scott Darling his first career NHL start as the Hawks prepare to play games on back-to-back days this weekend.

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We caught up with Keith Schultz, the editor of our fellow FanSided site, Blackhawk Up, to give us a more in-depth look at what to expect from Chicago tonight.

1. We saw the Blues have much better success against the Blackhawks last year at Scottrade than they did on the road. Is there anything you can specifically pinpoint about the Hawks’ play in St. Louis which would give us an idea of why the Blues seem to be so much better against them there?

KS: It is a tough task winning on the road within the Central Division.  Add the playoff crowd environment to the mix and it makes it even harder to sneak a win in on the road. Both the Blues and Wild were tough on their home ice against the Blackhawks.

2. All indications seem to be that the Blackhawks are going to give Scott Darling his first NHL start in net on Saturday. Can you fill us in a bit on what the rookie brings to the table?

KS: Here’s a little tidbit on Scott Darling: he grew up about 25 miles from the United Center and has been a Chicago Blackhawk fan his entire life. Goalie Ed Belfour was his favorite player. The first time Coach Q puts him in a Blackhawk game, Darling will be the first Chicago-area player to play for the team since 2007-08, when Danny Richmond played.
Darling is a great story from playing for teams like the Everblades to now possibly starting for the Blackhawks.

3. Obviously we saw Chicago change the makeup of their roster a little bit by adding some more experienced guys in Brad Richards and Daniel Carcillo. Have you sensed that the new guys have in any way changed the Hawks’ style of play?

KS: The impact (if any) that Carcillo and Richards may have on the Hawks will be eclipsed by their respective line-mates, Brandon Saad and Ben Smith. Even though it’s early in the season, I think both these players are showing promising signs that they’ll both have a big year. Smith will reach new career highs this season, and Saad will emerge as legit superstar and core player for the Hawks. They definitely are two players to watch in a tough division match-up against the Blues.

Thanks to Keith for giving us a Blackhawks point of view.

The Blues are likely to have at least one lineup change tonight, as one would think 21-year-old forward Dmitrij Jaskin, who was recalled from AHL Chicago on Friday, will be inserted into the lineup against the Hawks. As the Blues dealt with a buildup of injuries and ailments in late December of last year, Jaskin came up and scored a goal in a momentous win over the Blackhawks.

After Jake Allen started in goal on Thursday, Brian Elliott will get the call tonight and attempt to improve on his 1-2-1 record.