Blues vs. Blackhawks Preview
Chicago, IL (AP) - After a successful road trip, the Chicago Blackhawks hope their momentum carries over to home ice.
Chicago is one regulation home loss away from matching the total it had all of last season going into a matchup with the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Blackhawks -138 money line NHL odds favorites for Tuesday's game against the Blues. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 85% of more than 57 bets for this game have been placed on the Blackhawks -138.
This is the first of four straight games and nine of 11 at the United Center for the Blackhawks, who are a surprising 5-7-0 at home. They went 29-8-4 there last season en route to winning the Stanley Cup.
Chicago (13-11-2) had dropped four consecutive home games before winning its last one, 3-2 over Anaheim on Nov. 14, which preceded its annual November trip while the circus is held at the United Center.
The Blackhawks went 4-2-0 on the trek after winning the last two in Anaheim and Los Angeles.
"It was pretty good for us to get eight points out of it," said Patrick Kane, who has three goals and six assists in the last seven games. "With a trip this long, sometimes it's tough to keep going strong and stay upbeat like we were the last couple of games. We're excited to go back home and play in front of our fans, but overall we've got to be happy with this trip."
Corey Crawford was in goal for three of the four victories and has won four straight, including a 2-1 victory over the Kings on Saturday. Crawford made 21 saves and allowed two goals or fewer for the fifth consecutive start.
"Defense was excellent, they've been really good the last couple weeks," he said. "They make my game so much easier just taking away passing lanes and that makes a huge difference for me."
Crawford lost his only start against St. Louis, 6-5 in a shootout on Feb. 2, 2006.
Marty Turco, who has allowed 11 goals in his last two games, has split two starts versus the Blues this season but has lost six of eight against them.
Kane and Patrick Sharp both tallied a goal and an assist Saturday. Sharp has a goal in four straight and leads the team with 15, 10 shy of his total from last season.
"I like to think I've been a consistent goal scorer for the last few years, and now I'm getting opportunities," said Sharp, who has scored in both meetings with St. Louis this season and four of five. "I've had confidence all season long - and even when I haven't scored, I've still felt good out there, so I knew the goals were going to come."
Marian Hossa, who has 18 points, had to be helped off the ice at practice Monday after colliding with a teammate and his status for this game is unknown.
The Blues (12-7-3) have lost five of six on the road and are coming of being swept in a home-and-home set with Dallas. They had won three straight.
Jaroslav Halak lost both of those games and has dropped six of his last eight starts.
"Every team goes through some ups and downs and it's only up to them how they respond the next game," said Halak, 1-0-1 with a 2.42 GAA against the Blackhawks this season. "It's going to be up to us how we respond the next game in Chicago."
Halak is 1-4-0 with a 4.72 GAA in his last five road starts.
St. Louis has no power-play goals in the last three games and is converting on 14.3 percent of its opportunities overall - among the worst in the league.Andy McDonald has 13 points in the last eight games, including six of his team-leading eight goals.