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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, October 17th (All times Eastern)

St. Louis Blues (4-1-0) at Chicago Blackhawks (4-1-1), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Blues look to rebound from their first loss of the season on Thursday night in a rematch with the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blues began the campaign with their first ever 4-0 start before getting routed by San Jose 6-2 on Tuesday in the finale of a season-opening five-game homestand.

The Blues got goals from Vladimir Tarasenko -- his fourth start game with a tally -- and Roman Polak, but went 0-for-4 on the power play while allowing the Sharks to score three times on the man advantage.

Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak was pulled after two periods after allowing four goals on 26 shots. Brian Elliott had 11 saves on 13 shots after taking over for his first action of the season.

"They came in and played the right way. We didn't, and we paid for it," said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, whose club lost for the first time in its last 11 regular-season games at home.

Tuesday's contest also saw an ugly incident in the first period, when Blues forward Maxim Lapierre drove Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle into the glass face first 5:22 into the game. Boyle laid motionless on the ice for several minutes before getting carted off.

Lapierre drew a five-minute major for checking from behind, a fighting major after an ensuing altercation and was ejected from the game. He has been suspended by the league pending an in-person hearing, which is required by the collective bargaining agreement for any suspension that could exceed five games.

With Lapierre out and forward Brenden Morrow not practicing on Wednesday, Magnus Paajarvi is expected to make his Blues debut tonight.

Paajarvi, the 10th overall pick of the 2009 draft by Edmonton, was acquired from the Oilers on June 10 along with a 2014 second-round pick for forward David Perron. The 22-year-old had 26 goals and 58 points in 163 games with Edmonton.

Morrow's status, meanwhile, is unknown as he was also hit from behind versus the Sharks. He left the game briefly, but did return to action.

Halak is expected to start tonight, with Elliott likely to get the call on Friday in Winnipeg. Halak is 4-1-3 with a 2.07 goals against average in eight career meetings with the Blackhawks, including a 36-save victory at home on Oct. 9.

The Blues won that contest 3-2 as Alex Steen scored with 21.1 seconds left in regulation.

St. Louis will now eye a second straight victory in Chicago after snapping an eight-game series road losing streak with a shootout win at the United Center on April 4 of last season.

The Blackhawks picked up a third straight victory overall on Tuesday, besting the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in a shootout. Patrick Sharp scored his 200th career goal with a first-period tally, then had the lone goal in the tiebreaker.

Sharp stuffed a low shot past Cam Ward in the third round and Corey Crawford sealed up the win when he swallowed up Jeff Skinner's wrister.

Marian Hossa also scored in the first period and Crawford made 32 saves, but was bested twice in the third frame to force extra time.

"It seems like we always have great starts and wind up making it interesting at the end," said Hossa. "We have to learn from this and manage the game better."

Chicago has points in five of six to start the season (4-1-1) and is likely to turn again tonight to Crawford, who is 9-2-2 with a 2.50 GAA lifetime versus the Blues. He yielded three goals on 34 shots in the earlier loss this season.

10/17 10:46:43 ET

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