St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks: Game Preview


For the second time in the 2014-15 season, the St. Louis Blues will face the Chicago Blackhawks, making their first trip to the United Center on Wednesday night. In the teams’ first meeting on October 25, the Blues won 3-2 thanks to two unlikely scorers, enforcer Ryan Reaves and the since-demoted Dmitrij Jaskin. As the Blues head into Wednesday with what is expected to be their full lineup, they’ll look for continued contributions from players like David Backes and Paul Stastny who have finally started to break out of offensive slumps in recent games.

It will be the first career start against Chicago for goalie Jake Allen, who has been thrust into the starting job for the Blues following Brian Elliott‘s injury. He’ll aim to continue to build off of a spectacular effort on Saturday night in which he allowed two goals (one on a power play) while facing 30 shots and putting up with 11 minutes of shorthanded action. Allen will face Chicago’s backup, Antti Raanta, who has played in just three games this year, going 1-2 with a 2.03 goals against average.

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The Blues are expected to get back forward Steve Ott, who missed Saturday’s game with a groin injury, perhaps along with defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who has missed the past four games with a lower-body injury. Bouwmeester left Tuesday’s practice early and will be a game-time decision on Wednesday. Forward Patrik Berglund is expected to play, though he did suffer a facial injury in Tuesday’s practice which required seven stitches. Indications during practice this week were that forward Chris Porter, who replaced Ott on Saturday, would stick in the lineup for Wednesday’s game, with Joakim Lindstrom and Magnus Paajarvi being healthy scratches.

Jake Allen will get the start in goal for the Blues, but it will be the first game in a Blues uniform (or anything other than a New Jersey Devils uniform) for 42-year-old goalie Martin Brodeur. The future Hall-of-Famer, who officially signed with the team Tuesday, will back up Allen and prepare to make his debut in net on either Thursday or Saturday.