NHL on NBC: Blues, Blackhawks tangle on Hockey Day in America

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Happy Hockey Day in America! Be sure to check out PHT throughout the day as we bring you features and previews of all the events, including a nine-hour NHL block of programming across NBC and NBC Sports Network.

When the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks meet Sunday afternoon at the United Center (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC), they’ll be doing so fresh off blowout victories — the Blackhawks routed the Blue Jackets 6-1 on Saturday while the Blues ripped the Wild, 4-0.

As such, the stage is set for a heated Central Division affair.

While St. Louis (79 points) has a healthy lead over Chicago (69), the Blackhawks come in with the upper hand having beaten the Blues last time out — a 5-2 win at the Scottrade Center, one of only three regulation losses the Blues have suffered at home this year. There’s also the not-so-tiny fact Chicago has rebounded from a season-high nine-game winless streak with back-to-back victories over the Rangers and Blue Jackets by a combined 10-3 score.

“We worked hard, stayed patient and we knew the chances were going to come,” ‘Hawks captain Jonathan Toews told CSN Chicago. “Consistently over 60 minutes we got those chances and those goals.”

As for the Blues, they put together a comprehensive effort in a shutout win over Minnesota, holding the Wild to just 13 shots while getting goals from unlikely sources (including Ryan Reaves and Barret Jackman, who hadn’t scored in 150 straight games.) The win was the Blues’ sixth in seven games, meaning they’ve now gained points in a franchise-record 21 straight home games.

Game Notes

— This game will mark St. Louis’ first national television appearance since Jan. 13, 2007.

— Toews had a goal and two assists against CBJ on Saturday. He now sits tied for fifth in league goalscoring (29) and tied for ninth in points (57).

— Jackman wasn’t the only Blue to break a long scoring slump on Saturday. Reaves scored for the first time since Jan. 13, 2011.