It's Hockey Day in America, and for select markets NBC will grace their televisions with the Blues and Blackhawks -- the best rivalry out of the three games scheduled to be shown at the same time.
Much like super early games throw the players' routines off, early 11:30 games like this certainly throw off the viewer's schedule. But, alas, that's the price that Blues and Blackhawks fans have to pay today to be featured on Hockey Day In America, at least around the metro STL/CHI areas (if you live outside of these areas, no fear -- NBC Sports will stream the game on their website).
The Chicago Blackhawks as of late were dangling over the edge of the precipice. One game away from losing a whopping ten in a row, they came out guns blazing against the Eastern Conference New York Rangers. They snapped their streak with a 4-2 win against backup Martin Biron. Yesterday, after being a little outplayed by the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period, they did what the Blues couldn't seem to do -- embarrass Steve Mason, and badly. The Hawks are leading back to Chicago after taking their last road game for a bit from the Jackets 6-1.
Here's hoping that the Blackhawks scored their allotment of goals. The last time they faced the Blues, they hammered them at Scottrade 5-2, having apparently figured out the HItchcockian system that grounded them 3-0 in his first game. That game was David Perron's first game back, and he scored his first goal if the season. Right now, Perron is a force to be reckoned with. He has seven goals in his last seven games, as well as three assists. Andy McDonald as well seems to be on a little bit of a tear, with two goals and three assists in the four games since he's returned from a concussion.
The Blues ran roughshod over the fading Minnesota Wild yesterday, and the opportunity exists to return the Blackhawks back to their losing ways on national(ish) television. Brian Elliott will be starting for the Blues as Jaroslav Halak is still ill with the flu. Since Corey Crawford started yesterday for the Hawks, chances are good that Ray Emery will be starting today for them. The last time he saw the Blues, they made him look like the second coming of Tony Esposito. If it is Crawford, he's managed to beat St. Louis three out of five starts despite lugging around a huge 3.70 GAA against them.
Speaking of goals against average, today's starter for the Blues is back to leading the league in both that and save percentage. H has a teeny 1.55 GAA,, and is tied with Henrik Lundqvist with a .941 SV%. Maybe after today he can be tied with King Henrik in the other category that he leads, too.