St Louis (31-24-5) at Chicago (38-18-5)
When: Sunday, February 26th 2017
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
Time: 7:35 ET | TV: NBC Sports Network
The surging Chicago Blackhawks host the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night at United Center in a battle of Central Division foes. The Blues will be playing their first game since Monday as they’re coming off their bye week and went into their ‘break’ losing their last two games after winning six straight. The Blues are currently holding down the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, three points ahead of Los Angeles and one point behind Calgary. St. Louis is 2-1-1 against Chicago this season after recording a 4-1 victory on January 2nd in the 2017 Winter Classic and have won four of their last five visits to Chicago. Vladimir Tarasenko entered Saturday tied for fourth in the league with 28 goals and has scored five times over his last seven games. Patrik Berglund will celebrate his recent contract extension by appearing in his 616th game Sunday, which will move him past Bob Plager for seventh place on the franchise list. He’s also in a current a four-game pointless streak after recording a hat trick against Montreal on February 11th. The Blues have allowed a total of 17 goals in winning eight of their last 11 road games.
The Blackhawks have won three in a row and eight of their last nine to move within three points of first place Minnesota for best record in the Western Conference. Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks with 23 goals after recording his third career hat trick versus Arizona on Thursday and has 16 points over his last 13 games. Captain Jonathan Toews, who scored three goals during a five-point performance against Minnesota on Tuesday, and Kane are the first Chicago teammates to record hat tricks in consecutive games since Alexei Zhamnov and Eric Daze accomplished the feat in 1997. Defenseman Duncan Keith, who has gone over the 40-point mark for the fourth consecutive season and eighth time in nine seasons, is one away from 500 in the NHL. Tomas Jurco, who failed to record a point in 16 games with Detroit this season and has registered 15 goals and 24 assists in 159 NHL games, could make his debut for Chicago against St. Louis after being acquired on Friday. Chicago could be without defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who left Thursday’s game against the Coyotes in the first period with an upper-body injury.
This is the first year that the NHL is using these bye weeks and the results for the teams coming out of them are not good. The Blackhawks have a lot of momentum right now and should be able to handle what I think will be a rusty St. Louis team tonight.
Pick: Blackhawks -1.5 +180
HEAD TO HEAD
Trends courtesy of SportsOptions.com – an UltimateCapper.com partner