The Blackhawks are coming off their first regulation loss of the season. They lost 3-2 to the Nashville Predators on the road Thursday. The Blackhawks are 4-1-1 on the season.
The Blues have gotten off to a slow start this season. They’re 2-3-1 and on a two-game losing streak leading into Saturday’s game.
The rivalry between the Blackhawks and Blues has gone to another level after the two teams met in the first round of the playoffs last season. The Blues won the first two games in overtime, but the Blackhawks took the next four games to win the series. The Blues won the regular-season series last season and finished ahead of the Blackhawks in the Central.
The Blackhawks and Blues are getting the quantity of shots they want, but haven’t been cashing in on those opportunities. The Blackhawks are first in the league with a 39.2 shot-per-game average and 16th with 2.83 goals per game. The Blues are fourth with 33.8 shots and 26th with 2.13 goals.
The Blackhawks will be without goaltender Corey Crawford for the third consecutive game due to an upper-body injury. Antti Raanta will start in Crawford’s place again. He is 1-1-0 with a 1.52 goals-against average and .949 save percentage.
The Blackhawks’ lines are expected to be Patrick Sharp – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa, Kris Versteeg – Andrew Shaw – Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell – Brad Richards – Brandon Saad, Daniel Carcillo – Marcus Kruger – Ben Smith. Their defenseman pairings are expected to be Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya – Niklas Hjalmarsson, Trevor van Riemsdyk – Michal Rozsival.
The Blues’ lines are expected to be Jaden Schwartz - David Backes - T.J. Oshie, Alexander Steen - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko, Dmitrij Jaskin - Patrik Berglund - Joakim Lindstrom, Steve Ott - Maxim Lapierre - Ryan Reaves. Their defenseman pairings are expected to be Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo, Ian Cole - Kevin Shattenkirk, Barret Jackman - Jordan Leopold. Brian Elliott will start in net.