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
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
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Toews' seven career game-winning goals in the postseason are just
one shy of Jeremy Roenick's total for the franchise lead.
Blues G Ryan Miller has stopped 83 of his last 87 shots after
yielding three goals on the first seven shots of the series.
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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