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Blues try to make up ground on Blackhawks

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks may be leading the Central Division, but the rival St. Louis Blues have dealt the defending champions a pair of losses already this season.

The Blues aim to make up some more ground in the standings on Saturday night when they play host to the Blackhawks.

St. Louis has won four of its last five versus Chicago, including a pair of victories this season. The Blues took a 3-2 decision at home on Oct. 9, then won a 3-2 shootout eight days later in the Windy City.

The Blues have won seven of their last 11 at home versus the Blackhawks and the two victories over the club this season are part of a 10-0-1 record against the division. However, St. Louis still trails Chicago by seven points for first place in the standings but has played four fewer games.

St. Louis has logged a point in seven of its last eight games, going 5-1-2 over that time, but did have a two-game win streak snapped with Monday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames.

Jaden Schwartz, Kevin Shattenkirk and Magnus Paajarvi had the goals for the Blues, while Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves and was beaten by the Flames' Mark Giordano for a game-tying goal with 5.1 seconds to play.

Halak also yielded the lone shootout goal of the game.

"We lost composure with the puck. We made some puck errors," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We got caught not clearing pucks at the end. We had full control of the hockey game and the second goal gave Calgary some momentum, but we were in full control of the hockey game. We were just winding the game down and made some puck errors and the next thing you know it was in our net."

St. Louis was without forward Alexander Steen due to an upper-body injury and his status for this game is unknown. Steen ranks second in the NHL with a career high-tying 24 goals and did not practice on Friday.

Halak is likely to get the start tonight and has stopped 53-of-57 shots faced in the two victories over the Blackhawks this season. He is 5-1-3 with a 2.04 goals against average in nine career starts against them.

Chicago looks to get its first victory of the season over St. Louis one night after routing the Colorado Avalanche 7-2 at home. Patrick Sharp celebrated his 32nd birthday with a hat trick while adding an assist to the win.

"It was a special game. I thought maybe I could have had one the last game when I hit a post on the last shift," said Sharp, who scored twice in a win over the Devils on Monday. "When things are going in like that you just try to get open, get good passes from your teammates and try to ride it for as long as you can."

Jonathan Toews had two goals and two assists for Chicago, which is 4-0-1 in its last five and has won seven of its past nine overall. Antti Raanta needed to make just 16 saves in the win.

Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 13 straight games with an assist. The Blackhawks forward has seven goals and 15 assists over his run, pushing his season point total to 50. That ranks second in the NHL behind only Sidney Crosby's 55 for Pittsburgh.

It is unknown if Raanta will make his first career appearance versus the Blues or if backup Jason LaBarbera will make his Blackhawks debut.

Acquired from Edmonton on Dec. 14 following injuries to netminders Corey Crawford and Nikolai Khabibulin, LaBarbera was 1-3-0 with a 3.27 GAA in seven games (4 starts) with the Oilers this season and is 3-4-0 with a 3.02 GAA lifetime against the Blues.

12/28 10:46:57 ET

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Schedule

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Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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    Today at 11:00 am on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 2
DUR 9
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR
 
7:05pm Tuesday
PHI 0
ATL 0
7:05pm Tuesday
NYY 0
CHC 0
7:05pm Tuesday
BAL 0
TAM 0
7:08pm Tuesday
DET 0
CLE 0
Final
CIN 7
PIT 5
Final
MIA 11
WAS 2
Final
TEX 5
SEA 0
Final
CWS 2
BOS 1
Final
HOU 2
KAN 4
Final
MIL 1
STL 6
Final
MIN 3
TOR 9
Final
ARI 0
NYM 9
Final
ANA 9
OAK 10
Final
SDP 2
COL 3
Final
SFG 3
LOS 2
12:35pm Today
CIN
PIT
12:35pm Today
BAL
TAM
 
1:05pm Today
NYY
CHC
 
1:10pm Today
MIL
STL
 
3:40pm Today
ARI
NYM
 
7:05pm Tonight
PHI
ATL
 
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
CHC
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CLE
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
SEA
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
BOS
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
KAN
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
TOR
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
LOS
 
Final
BRK 98
NYK 109
Final
LAC 117
DEN 105
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
IND
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIL
ATL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
DAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
DET
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
HOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
PHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
NYK
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
BOS
WAS
 
10:30pm Tonight
DEN
GSW
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
SAC
PHO
 
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
MON
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
DAL
Final
CHR 2
DUR 9
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR