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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, March 19th (All times Eastern)

St. Louis Blues (47-14-7) at Chicago Blackhawks (39-15-15), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The red-hot St. Louis Blues will try to remain undefeated against the defending Stanley Cup champions this season when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks for Wednesday's Central Division showdown at United Center.

With an 8-0-1 record in March, the Blues have vaulted to the top of the NHL standings. A recent victory over the Winnipeg Jets made St. Louis the first team to reach the 100-point mark this season.

St. Louis currently sits first in the league with 101 points -- two more than the Boston Bruins. The Blues also are four points ahead of both Anaheim and San Jose in the West standings and hold an eight-point lead over both Chicago and Colorado for first place in the Central.

The Blackhawks are currently third in the Central and nine points behind St. Louis. Chicago has a chance to make up some ground in the division race tonight, but St. Louis has gotten the better of the reigning champs so far in 2013-14. The Blues also have earned points in 22 consecutive divisional games (20-0-2), extending a franchise record.

The Blues are 3-0 against Chicago this season and have claimed four straight overall in the series. However, each of the last three encounters between the clubs have been decided by just one goal. That includes a 6-5 shootout victory by the Blues in the last meeting on Dec. 28 in St. Louis.

Chicago failed to hold a pair of two-goal leads in that meeting in late December and the Blues forced the game beyond regulation by scoring twice during a 1:17 span late in the third period.

Still, these clubs have split the last 10 meetings overall and St. Louis has lost 10 of 13 in Chicago despite winning the last two matchups in the Windy City.

The Blues won their third straight game Monday night against visiting Winnipeg. David Backes scored twice, including the game-winner with 6:51 left in the third period, as St. Louis secured a 3-1 win over the Jets at Scottrade Center.

Backes broke a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal at 13:09 of the third before being credited with an empty-netter at 18:49. Winnipeg's Jacob Trouba hauled Backes down from behind with only an empty net in front of him, resulting in a goal.

Brenden Morrow scored St. Louis' other goal, while Ryan Miller made 16 saves to improve to 7-0-1 since being acquired on Feb. 28 by the Blues.

Miller will get another chance to improve on his brilliant start with the Blues tonight. The former Buffalo Sabres netminder is 2-2-0 with a 2.08 goals against average in four career games against Chicago.

St. Louis is kicking off a four-game road trip on Wednesday and is 22-9-3 as the visiting team this season. T.J. Oshie will be back for the Blues in the opener of the swing after missing Monday's test to spend time with his wife and the couple's newborn daughter.

The Blackhawks have lost three of their last four games, but were able to pick up a point in Tuesday's 3-2 overtime loss in Philadelphia.

Chicago grabbed an early 2-0 lead by scoring twice in the first 3:51 of the game, but the Blackhawks wouldn't find the net again. After Scott Hartnell scored twice in the first period to even the game, Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux scored the winning goal with just 4.2 seconds left in OT to give the Flyers the victory.

With time winding down in the extra session, Giroux flew down the right wing into the zone and from the circle he snapped a laser on net, using Duncan Keith as a screen, and it went in and out of the left corner for the win.

Andrew Shaw and Keith had the goals for Chicago. Antti Raanta gave up all three goals on 37 shots.

"I think we did a lot of good things tonight. But, definitely really frustrating the way we gave that point up," said Keith.

Blackhawks No. 1 netminder Corey Crawford expects to get the start tonight. He is 9-2-3 with a 2.45 GAA in 14 career games against the Blues.

Chicago is beginning a four-game homestand on Wednesday and also will host Carolina, Nashville and Dallas during the stay at United Center. The Blackhawks are 21-6-7 as the home club this season.

03/19 10:44:11 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHA 102
DET 78
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
 
Final
PHI 9
ATL 2
Final
MIN 4
BOS 4
Final
HOU 3
DET 2
Final
NYY 0
TAM 3
Final
BOS 7
TOR 9
Final
MIA 8
WAS 0
Final
NYM 4
STL 5
Final
OAK 4
ANA 1
Final
KAN 4
LOS 4
Final
CIN 0
ARI 3
Final
SEA 4
CWS 12
Final
SFG 5
CLE 2
Final
CHC 11
MIL 7
Final
CWS 2
SDP 8
Final
COL 10
TEX 4
Final
BAL 3
PIT 3
12:05pm Today
STL
NYM
 
1:05pm Today
DET
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
NYY
PIT
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
TAM
 
3:05pm Today
CIN
CLE
 
3:05pm Today
SDP
MIL
 
3:10pm Today
ARI
CWS
 
6:05pm Tonight
ATL
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIN
BOS
 
7:05pm Tonight
CCH
HOU
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
LOS
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
OAK
 
Final
CHA 102
DET 78
Final
WAS 106
PHI 93
Final
ORL 91
SAN 103
Final
NYK 98
BRK 100
Final
BOS 100
IND 87
Final
MIL 95
CHI 91
Final
OKC 131
DAL 135
Final
HOU 115
SAC 111
Final
MIN 99
TOR 113
Final
UTA 98
DEN 84
Final
POR 122
LAC 126
 
4th
LAL 88
NOP 108
 
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
MIA
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
HOU
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
PHO
 
Final
LAMON 62
LOYC 63
7:00pm Tonight
EVAN
NARZ
 
9:00pm Tonight
MIAMI
STAN
 
Final
BUF 4
TOR 3
Final
PIT 1
PHI 4
Final
ANA 5
EDM 1
 
3rd
SJS 1
COL 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
NYI
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
BOS
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
 
7:30pm Tonight
OTT
TAM
 
7:30pm Tonight
MON
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
NYR
 
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
VAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
EDM