Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 9th 2023

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With the fewest points of any team in the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to make small gains in any area of the game they can.

Following a 1-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, the homestanding Blackhawks await the arrival of the rival St. Louis Blues for a Saturday night matchup.

The Blackhawks entered the game against Anaheim mired in a four-game losing streak (0-3-1), and teams engaged in a low-scoring, tight-checking clash.

Chicago’s power play proved to be the difference when Philipp Kurashev netted the lone goal at 9:21 of the second period.

Before that game, Chicago’s power play had scored just eight times in 75 attempts (10.7 percent), which ranked 29th in the league.

Kurashev’s tally on assists from Connor Bedard and Tyler Johnson marked the third time the unit scored in the past five games. It came after Anaheim’s Tristan Luneau was whistled for a double-minor high-sticking infraction.

Chicago won when scoring fewer than four goals for the first time this season.

“It was a great game overall, especially the special teams and Petr (Mrazek, the Blackhawks goaltender),” said Kurashev, who has five goals, two on the power play. “I definitely think we’re moving the puck way quicker. We’re opening up lanes for the shots.”

Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson believes the team’s power play is improving.

“The more we get confident on the power play, I think it allows us to play a better five-on-five game,” said Richardson, whose team is 1-0-1 on a four-game homestand. “It’ll let the whole game plan settle if we can do our jobs on the special teams.”

Mrazek made 37 saves and posted his 25th career shutout. It was his first shutout since beating the Dallas Stars 1-0 on April 4, 2021, while backstopping the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Blues own a recent stranglehold in their rivalry with Chicago, going 11-1-1 since the beginning of the 2019-20 campaign.

In Columbus in a battle of backup goalies Friday night, the Blue Jackets’ Jet Greaves made 41 saves, outdueling St. Louis’ Joel Hofer (17 saves) for his first career NHL win in a 5-2 victory.

Robert Thomas scored twice, but it was not enough to keep the Blues from losing for the third time in four games.

On Friday afternoon, the Blues sent fan favorite defenseman Robert Bortuzzo to the New York Islanders for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 draft.

Across 424 career games with the 2019 Stanley Cup champions, Bortuzzo totaled 16 goals, 38 assists, 531 blocked shots and 781 hits while compiling a plus-46 rating.

Bortuzzo, 34, was acquired by St. Louis for defenseman Ian Cole in March 2015. Only 33 players logged more games in franchise history than he did, though he had appeared just four times this season and recorded no points.

St. Louis president of hockey operations and general manager Doug Armstrong said the decision to part ways was mutual.

“(Robert) really wanted to get back on the ice and wants to play again next year,” Armstrong said on the Bally Sports broadcast. “Where we’re at right now, we … have (Tyler) Tucker and (Scott) Perunovich — young players we have to see play.”

–Field Level Media

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