Chicago (27-10-3) at St. Louis (17-17-6)

Partly Cloudy Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Sat Jan 2, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Cristobal Huet(notes) has been inconsistent at times since arriving in Chicago last season, but he’s been nothing but impressive against the St. Louis Blues.

He should get the chance for another stellar performance Saturday night when the Blackhawks try to win their third straight over the host Blues, who fired coach Andy Murray earlier in the day.

Huet endured an up-and-down campaign in 2008-09, allowing four or more goals in 12 of his 41 appearances. He had a 3.25 goals-against average in his first six starts this season but rebounded to climb among the league’s leaders with a 2.09 GAA.

With his help, Chicago (27-10-3) holds a six-point lead in the Central Division.

Among those resurgent performances was a 3-0 home victory over St. Louis on Dec. 16, but after another shutout against Detroit, Huet gave up three goals on 14 shots in a loss to San Jose on Dec. 22.

He bounced back by making 26 saves in a 4-1 win at Nashville four days later, only to be pulled after giving up four goals in 10 shots in Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to Dallas. Huet rebounded again by nearly blanking Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey in a 5-1 victory at the United Center on Thursday night, coming within 1:33 of his fourth shutout.

“I take pride in trying to regroup after a bad game, try to take away the negative,” Huet said. “The team played well in front of me.”

The Chicago goaltender has nearly beaten the Blues (17-17-6) by himself in his past four matchups, posting a 1.01 GAA. He’s suffered two losses only because the Blackhawks failed to score in those games, including a 1-0 defeat Feb. 13 in their previous trip to the Scottrade Center.

That shouldn’t be a problem in Saturday’s game as Chicago has tallied at least four goals in four straight contests. The Blackhawks are also among the league’s leaders with 3.05 per game.

Patrick Kane(notes) has five goals during the team’s scoring binge, and seven goals and four assists during a six-game point streak. While tallying a point in five straight games, Jonathan Toews(notes) has two goals and eight assists.

Kane matched a career high with three assists in the previous game against the Blues, and Toews added two.

St. Louis, meanwhile, has allowed at least four goals in each game of a 0-3-1 skid, and Murray was let go Saturday with the Blues owning the NHL’s worst home record (6-13-3).

Davis Payne, the coach of the Blues’ AHL affiliate in Peoria, was appointed interim coach.

“I would like to thank Andy Murray for the job he has done here the past four seasons,” team president John Davidson said. “He was an integral part in turning the St. Louis Blues around. He is a true professional.”

The Blues jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 34:30 on Thursday night against Vancouver, but allowed the Canucks to rally to send the game into overtime. Christian Ehrhoff(notes) scored 2:24 into the extra period to send St. Louis to a 4-3 defeat, its third on a four-game homestand.

“(The past four losses are) all difficult,” captain Eric Brewer(notes) said. “It’s certainly a tough stretch for us. … They just found a way to get one when they needed one.”

Despite their team’s struggles, Alex Steen and Andy McDonald(notes) have excelled in recent games. Steen has four goals and an assist in the past three, and McDonald has five goals and two assists in the last six.

The two, however, have been held to one combined assist in the last three games against Chicago.

Related Articles

Team Stat Leaders



Saturday, Jan 2