Today is the day the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues go head-to-head in the 2017 Winter Classic at Busch Stadium. You can catch the game on NBC or you can watch it online by clicking here.
As of right now, the game is expected to start at 1:00 p.m. ET, but that can change depending on the ice conditions. A full weather update is available here.
Heading into this afternoon’s game, the Blackhawks sit at the top of the Central Division standings with 51 points in 39 games. The Minnesota Wild are one point behind the ‘Hawks, but they also have three games in hand. As for the Blues, they currently sit in third place with 43 points in 37 games.
This is a perfect opportunity for the Blues to start closing the gap between themselves and one of their biggest rivals.
“Aside from all this hype, being outside and all that, it’s a big game for us against the division team,” Blues forward Robby Fabbri said, per NHL.com. “We’ve got to start stringing some wins together here in the second half, and we’ve got to start with this one.”
As for the Blackhawks, we already know that they’ve ruled out two key forwards for this game, as both Marian Hossa and Marcus Kruger are out with upper-body injuries. Hossa could be back as early as Thursday, while Kruger is expected to be out for three weeks.
The ‘Hawks come into this game in a bit of a funk. They closed out 2016 with a 3-2 loss in Carolina, and they’ve dropped four of their last five contests.
“With the way things are going with us lately regardless, we need those points,” Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews said. “We need to have a big game against this team. They’re going to play really well in front of their own fans. Just add to the fact we’re on a big stage and they’re going to be excited to take advantage of this opportunity. They’ll be ready and we’ve got to be ready at this point.”
This will already be the fourth meeting between these two teams. St. Louis won the first game on opening night by a score of 3-2, but Chicago beat them 2-1 in OT on Nov. 9, and 6-4 on Dec. 17 (both games were in St. Louis).