Gameday: Blues at Blackhawks

Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo (27) keeps the puck away from the forechecking of Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad (20). (Photo courtesy: Jontathan Daniel, Getty Images)

3/8: Blues/Blackhawks, United Center, 6:30 CT – NBCSN, ESPN 101.1

CHICAGO – It’s International Women’s Day at United Center tonight as the St. Louis Blues (40-18-10) face the Chicago Blackhawks (31-29-8) for the final time this season. The Blues saw their 8-game winning streak snapped in a 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Friday. Jordan Binnington had a great performance, but the Blues seemed to lack luster and drive after Dakota Mesmer and Connor Carrick both scored their first goals of the season.

“Overall, our puck play wasn’t great in the game,” coach Craig Berube said. “I don’t think the ice was great, but our execution was not very good. The third period, I thought we played our game, we really were aggressive, our D were hammering walls, we were reloading, we were doing all those things. We were working for each other.”

Chicago and St. Louis will both try to get in the win column, after the Hawks suffered a stunning loss to the last-place Detroit Red Wings on Friday, 2-1. “To [the Red Wings’] credit, they did a good job defending and found a way to get a couple of goals. Tough not to get the result after the effort we had [in a victory Thursday against the Oilers], but we’ve just got move on.”

The Blues and Blackhawks play for the fourth and final time this season. St. Louis has won all three contests in wild fashion, winning 4-0, 4-3 and 6-5 as recent as late February. Chicago and St. Louis play on NBCSN where an all-female broadcast crew will call tonight’s game, led by Kate Scott alongside Olympic Gold Medalists Kendall Coyne-Schofield and AJ Mleczko.

Justin Faulk – Gametime Decision

Justin Faulk did not play in Friday’s game against New Jersey, after sustaining an upper-body injury against the Rangers last Tuesday. Head coach Craig Berube said Faulk will be a game-time decision tonight on whether or not he will play. “If he’s not 100 percent, he’s probably not going to go,” Berube said.

Coach Berube switched up lines and pairings during the game against New Jersey, but it’s back to basics for St. Louis after their latest practice, with Zach Sandford on a line with Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron. “Nothing was happening last game, so I just switched them all up,” Berube said. “Just trying to find a spark in the third period and we got a goal late which gave us an opportunity. A little too late, that’s all.”

Sammy Blais will play alongside Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn, a lineup combination we could see when Vladimir Tarasenko returns to the roster. “We got a goal in the third,” Blais said, “so we’ll see what happens tomorrow. I’m excited for the opportunity for sure.”

Blue Notes

Alton, IL native Dakota Mesmer scored his 1st NHL goal against the Blues on Friday… Brayden Schenn has points in 6 straight games (5G 3A)… If the Blues win, it will mark the first time in history that they will have swept a season series against the Blackhawks

Projected Lineups

FORWARDS

Sanford – O’Reilly – Perron

Schwartz – Schenn – Blais

Steen – Thomas – Bozak

MacEachern – Sundqvist – Barbashev

DEFENSE

Gunnarsson – Pietrangelo

Scandella – Parayko

Dunn – Bortuzzo

IN GOAL

Binnington / Allen

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