NHL Hockey Prediction: St. Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The Blues have vaulted into the top spot in the NHL, fueled by a six-game winning streak. St. Louis Blues has won nine of its last 10 games, including a 5-1 beating of Chicago on March 6.
St. Louis Blues (45-18-7): Jaroslav Halak is rounding into playoff form during the Blues’ red-hot run. He has won eight straight starts and boasts a slim 1.45 goals against average and a .945 save percentage in that span. Halak made 34 saves in a 2-1 victory over Columbus on Sunday, marking the 10th straight outing in which he’s allowed two or fewer goals. Halak stoned the Blackhawks on 20 of 21 shots in their last meeting and is 2-0 with a 0.50 GAA and .980 save percentage versus Chicago this season.
Chicago Blackhawks (37-25-8): Chicago is crossing its fingers that Toews is ready to return against the Blues. He has missed 10 straight games while recovering from a concussion but has skated with the team and told reporters he’s aiming to return Tuesday. Chicago has missed its playmaking captain, going 5-4-1 without Toews in the lineup. Fellow stars Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa have picked up their play with Toews on the shelf. In that 10-game span, Hossa has nine points, Sharp seven and Kane seven.
1. The home team has won 10 of the past 12 meetings.
2. Chicago goaltender Ray Emery is undefeated in regulation at home, going 10-0-2 with a 1.70 GAA and a .934 save percentage.
3. Halak and fellow netminder Brian Elliot give the Blues two 20-game winners – something a professional St. Louis sports franchise hasn’t had since the 1985 Cardinals boasted pitchers Joaquin Andujar (21-12) and John Tudor (21-8).
NHL PREDICTION: Blackhawks 2, Blues 1
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