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Blues Vs. Blackhawks Preview: Can Blues Stay Hot Against Talented Hawks?

The St. Louis Blues (14-8-3) host a high-octane Chicago Blackhawks team (15-8-3) on Saturday night.

The St. Louis Blues are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games and are only going to get stronger with the pending return of forward David Perron, who will rejoin the lineup for the first time since Nov. 4, 2010. The strength of the squad is on defense, which will be looking to slow down the high-scoring Blackhawks attack led by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. SB Nation's Blues blog, St. Louis Game Timeexplains the anatomy of the great defensive units:

Ian Cole might want to sublet his place in Peoria. Because that kid belongs here now. His best game as a pro was in Pittsburgh last week, but he was great again tonight and I think he's just going to get better and better. The Blues defense is so young and so good that a youngish, goodish player like Carlo Colaiacovo is going to find it hard to squeak back into the top six when he gets done pulling his hammy. Alex Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk, Cole and Roman Polak are an impressive group and Polak, at 25, is the oldest of the group by a long shot. Barret Jackman and Kent Huskins have both proven to be excellent veterans. Then there's 24-year-old Kris Russell, who we're not really sure what he is. Where does Colaiacovo fit there? That's a some sick D.

The Chicago Blackhawks are still dealing with goal tending issues heading into their Saturday matchup with the St. Louis Blues, but the Hawks did pull off an exciting 5-4 overtime victory over the New York Islanders on Friday. They squandered a 3-2 lead and a 4-3 lead in Friday night's game, but Jonathan Toews' provided a clinching goal in an overtime shootout to save the day.  

Hawks fans are getting a bit restless with defensive lapses and sporadic net-minding, as evidenced by the reaction to Friday Night's win on SB Nation's Blackhawks blog, Second City Hockey:

The defensive problems wouldn't look nearly as [bad] as they do if Corey Crawford weren't as wonky as anything Cristobal Huet or Marty Turco put up this last month. It pains me to say it, but he does. Those first two goals were unacceptable. One was a rebound that looked like the soft toss drill we did for batting practice on my high school baseball team. The second was a terrible angle that left a pretty agile scorer in Moulsen far too much space on the short side. Those two goals don't go in, the Hawks enter the 3rd with a 3-0 lead and I doubt they're debating whether trying to hold or kill the game off.    

Here are some quick facts to help you find the game on Saturday night:

GAME TIME: Saturday, December 3rd, 7:00 p.m. CST at Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

TV: FS-MW (HD)

RADIO: KMOX 1120 AM

Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the St. Louis Blues be sure to visit St. Louis Game Time. Visit SB Nation NHL for more news and notes around the league. For in-depth analysis on the Chicago Blackhawks be sure to visit Second City Hockey.