NHL on NBCSN: Blues need to pick up valuable points against Blackhawks

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Wednesday night, as the St. Louis Blues host the Chicago Blackhawks at 8 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online by clicking here.

This game means much more to the Blues than it does to the ‘Hawks. Chicago heads into tonight’s game 19 points away from a playoff spot, which is telling.

The Blackhawks have done their best to play spoiler, but that hasn’t necessarily worked out well either. They’ve lost seven of their last nine games, including a 5-4 OT decision at home to the Blues on Mar. 18. These two teams will go head-to-head again on Friday night in Chicago.

Captain Jonathan Toews (upper body) will miss a sixth consecutive game tonight.

‘‘It’d be nice to see them miss the playoffs,’’ winger Patrick Kane said of the Blues, per the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘So it would be nice to have a hand in that.’’

Erik Gustafsson didn’t mince words either.

[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]

‘‘I don’t like them,’’ Gustafsson said with a laugh, according to the Sun-Times. ‘‘It’s a fun team to play against, though. There’s always a lot of hits and scrums after every [whistle]. We have that kind of irritating [rivalry] with them, so it’s fun.’’

The Blues will look to avoid falling into that trap. They need all the points they can get if they want to get back to the playoffs. Heading into tonight’s action, they find themselves one point behind the Colorado Avalanche with a game in hand. So tonight’s tilt is huge.

“We’ve got to find points,” goalie Jake Allen said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Overtime point, obviously a win is the goal, but points right now. It doesn’t matter how. We just have to find a way to make some positive ground here.”

The Blues are coming off a disappointing 4-2 loss to the Capitals, who had played an emotional division-clinching game the night before against the Penguins. Since coming away with a huge OT win over the Sharks late last month, St. Louis has dropped three consecutive games to Vegas, Arizona and Washington.

They’ll finish the season off with a pair of games against the ‘Hawks before taking on the Avalanche in what will likely be a major showdown for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

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