Blues-Blackhawks Preview

The Associated Press

For almost a month, the Chicago Blackhawks could not win. At the moment, they can't lose.

The Blackhawks, however, could be in for a tough challenge Sunday when they return home from a lengthy road trip to face the surging St. Louis Blues.

Chicago (31-21-7) snapped a nine-game skid Thursday with a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers, then rolled to a 6-1 victory at Columbus on Saturday. By salvaging a 2-6-1 record with the consecutive wins to end their season-high nine-game trip, the Blackhawks may have found the spark they need.

"Obviously, the first seven games were tough but sometimes you come out of it with positives,'' said All-Star Patrick Kane, who had a goal and an assist Saturday. "Hopefully we can get hot here. It's going to be nice going home and actually just being there for a while.''

Chicago will play four of its next six games at the United Center, where it is 19-6-4. The Blackhawks have scored 20 goals during a four-game home winning streak over St. Louis, but the Blues (36-15-7) have won six of their last seven overall and are 10 points ahead of Chicago in the Central Division standings.

"We need to keep building off those good things we've been doing," said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who has two goals and three assists in the last two contests. "Go work on getting another two points at home (Sunday) and be excited about getting back home.''

Toews, who recorded a goal and two assists Saturday, has seven goals and 11 assists in his last 15 games versus St. Louis. He had one of each during a 5-2 victory at St. Louis on Dec. 3. The Blues won 3-0 - also at home - in the teams' first meeting of the season Nov. 8.

Toews' teammate Marian Hossa, who has two goals and two assists in his last three games, scored twice in the December victory over the Blues.

Barret Jackman broke a league-high 150-game scoreless drought, fellow defenseman Alex Pietrangelo added two assists and Brian Elliott needed to make only 13 saves Saturday as the Blues recorded at least one point for a franchise-record 21st straight home game with a 4-0 win over Minnesota.

The Blues, who have scored nine goals in their last two games, are 28-0-0 when scoring three or more and 25-1-1 when leading after two periods.

"We're scoring goals," Pietrangelo told the NHL's official website. "Guys are finding ways to put them in."

The Blues are 26-3-4 at home and have won six of seven overall, but the lone loss in that span was a 2-1 defeat Tuesday at league-worst Columbus that dropped St. Louis to 10-12-3 on the road.

That mark might stand a good chance of improving Sunday if Elliott is back in goal.

Pressed into service Saturday after Jaroslav Halak was scratched because of the flu, Elliott improved to 20-5-2 with an NHL-best 1.55 goals-against average after shutting out the Wild. Elliott made 35 saves in the December loss to the Blackhawks, the only time in his last 15 starts that he's yielded more than three goals.

Pietrangelo has five goals and 18 assists in his last 20 games, but has been held without a point versus Chicago in 2011-12.