The St. Louis Blues play host to the Chicago Blackhawks at the Enterprise Center on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks were sellers at the trade deadline, as they sent Robin Lehner to Las Vegas and Erik Gustafsson to Calgary. With Lehner signing a one-year deal in the offseason, the Blackhawks took a chance on him and chose to get something for him instead of attempting to re-sign in the summer.
I said it recently in another writeup, and I’ll say it again regarding Lehner and the Blackhawks. Going to Chicago was rather odd, as he was hoping to take a gamble on a one-year deal for a bigger contract after this season. Instead of signing a safer deal with the Islanders that was going to be for two or three years, Lehner took a chance on a team that didn’t have a great defence.
The Blackhawks weren’t really a team in a position to take a run at the Stanley Cup this season either, so it was a bit of baffling signing for them to begin with. In any event, Lehner is in Las Vegas now, and Corey Crawford will be the clear No. 1 goaltender in Chicago again. They were sharing time between the pipes prior to the trade.
Gustafsson was also dealt at the deadline. That leaves another hole in the defensive zone for the Blackhawks. Gustafsson leaves the Blackhawks having scored 6 goals and 20 assists on the season. Earlier injuries to Brent Seabrook and Calvin de Haan set the defence back, and now the Blackhawks traded away a reliable blueliner. The Blackhawks are 27-27-8 with 62 points, so the playoffs look out of reach now. Selling at the deadline likely isn’t going to matter that much as far as this season is concerned.
The Blues are hot again after losing five games in a row. Following that skid, the Blues are on a four-game winning streak, with their most recent W coming against the Wild in Minnesota on Sunday, 4-1. As soon as the Avalanche tied things up in the Central, the Blues snapped out of the cold streak and now have a 3-point lead for 1st in the division. St. Louis is 36-17-10 and 82 points heading into tonight against the Blackhawks. Head below for our free Blackhawks vs. Blues pick.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues Betting Odds:
Blackhawks vs. Blues Prediction:
The Blackhawks are still technically in the playoff race, but 8 points behind for a wildcard, and the front office selling, doesn’t evoke much confidence in them making it. Tanking might be the better long-term solution for the Blackhawks. This has to be tough on Patrick Kane, who has been playing like a guy who wants to go to the playoffs.
However, the support has been thin on a consistent basis. Kane has scored 27 goals and 50 assists for 77 points on the season. There have been promising signs elsewhere on the roster, like for instance 24-year-old Dominik Kubalik who has notched 26 goals and 13 assists. Finding consistency has been difficult for anyone not named Patrick Kane, though.
Chicago is 20th in the NHL with 2.89 goals scored per game. The spotty offence has been part of the problem for the Blackhawks in 2019-20, leading to what has had to be a frustrating season for Kane. Against the Flames over a week ago, the Blachawks scored 8 goals, but they’ve scored an average of 2 goals per game. In their last ten games, minus the explosion against the Flames, the Blackhawks have scored 1.7 goals a game in their previous ten showings.
And in that game against the Flames, it was mostly related to poor goaltending. David Rittich and Cam Talbot were allowing anything in the net that came near them. The Blackhawks scored 8 goals on just 28 shots, so it wasn’t as dominating of a win as the final score indicated. They are likely going to have a tough time against Jordan Binnington tonight. Binnington and the Blues’ defence has been sharp at the Enterprise Center. He has posted a superb 2.12 GAA and 0.922 save percentage, while the team has yielded 2.29 goals per game in St. Louis.
The offence has been a contributing factor for the Blues as well. They’ve scored 3.23 goals per game, so nearly a goal more than given up at home this season. It has resulted in a strong record of 20-6-5. This hasn’t a barn that teams are going to want to go into come springtime in the playoffs. In two meetings this season, the Blues have beaten the Blackhawks by a combined score of 8-3. It might be a closer game than that suggests, but I still like the Blues to get a 3-2 or 4-2 in regulation here.