It’s the question on pretty much everyone’s minds: can anyone stop the Chicago Blackhawks‘ point streak? They are 16-0-3 and have yet to lose in regulation, setting a new NHL record for the best start ever. The next team to come up to bat and take a chance on possibly ending the streak will be the St. Louis Blues, tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern.
The Blues are at home tonight, but will be without the services of Vladimir Tarasenko (concussion), Andy McDonald (knee injury) and Alexander Steen (upper body injury). A trio of call-ups from AHL Peoria Rivermen have come down to St. Louis: Adam Cracknell, Andrew Murray and Chris Porter. Coach Ken Hitchcock is familiar with Murray from his time with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“He hunts, he’s heavy on the puck, he’s strong as heck on the boards,” Hitchcock said.
Murray has put up 10 goals and nine assists in 38 Peoria games this season. Porter has seven goals and three assists in 12 games while Cracknell has 13 goals and 14 assists in 43 games.
Interestingly, there were 21 games last season where the Blues had neither McDonald nor Steen in their lineup. In that 21-game swath, they went 13-4-4. (A Blues season ticket holder named Nick Hand was the one to provide this nugget of information!)
Look for Jaroslav Halak in net tonight against Corey Crawford. Halak has a 3-0-0 record against the Blackhawks with a 1.93 goals-against average, .938 save percentage and a shutout. Other strong Blues performances against the ‘hawks include David Perron (10 goals and seven assists in 25 games), T.J. Oshie (five goals and 15 assists in 22 games) and captain David Backes (five goals and 11 assists in 35 goals).
It’s been a full five days since the Blues last played a game, which is their longest break of the whole season so far. That may affect their game, but it remains to be seen if that long rest will be a positive or negative. The five most recent Blackhawks wins have all been one-goal affairs, so if the Blues can build up and hold a more secure lead, they stand a chance at being the ones to end the big streak.