Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Preview: Blues At Blackhawks

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[April 23, 2014]  Facing the prospect of seeing his team pushed to the brink of elimination, Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville elected to reunite captain Jonathan Toews with Patrick Kane on the same line. Toews opened the scoring and Corey Crawford turned aside all 34 shots he faced as Chicago skated to a 2-0 triumph in Game 3 to halve its deficit in the Western Conference first-round series. The reigning Stanley Cup champions look to pull even in the set when they return to the United Center on Wednesday.

"We thought last year in the playoffs when they did get together, whether they started a series or a middle of a series, that they seemed to get excited about it," Quenneville said of his electric tandem. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was not amused with the pairing, but vowed to find a solution. "I don't think he's fighting very fair, frankly. I don't like that," Hitchcock said. St. Louis found itself in a familiar position as it was shut out for the fourth time in nine contests and eighth in 28 games.

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), CSN (Chicago)

ABOUT THE BLUES: Hitchcock did not provide an update on captain David Backes, who sat out Monday's tilt after receiving an upper-body injury on the brutal hit by Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook. Backes was reported to be "better than a 50/50 proposition" to play in Game 4, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday. Hitchcock would relish something resembling a 50-50 split in the faceoff circle after the Blues won just 41-of-100 draws in Game 3.

ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS: Sheldon Brookbank provided a strong performance as he replaced Seabrook, who sat out the first contest of his three-game suspension. Brookbank notched a assist on Toews' goal and logged 14:32 of ice time while being paired primarily with Duncan Keith. "I'm not saying it's easy, but (Keith) makes it pretty easy on you," Brookbank said. "He gets back there quick and makes a lot of good plays, and he closes on guys fast. So it makes my job easier."

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  1. Toews' seven career game-winning goals in the postseason are just one shy of Jeremy Roenick's total for the franchise lead.

  2. Blues G Ryan Miller has stopped 83 of his last 87 shots after yielding three goals on the first seven shots of the series.

  3. Chicago LW Brandon Saad has four points  all assists  to match Seabrook for the team lead.

PREDICTION: Blackhawks 3, Blues 2

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