Apr 14, 2013, 12:13 AM EDT
At this point, the Chicago Blackhawks might grasp a bit for motivation before each game, at least compared to other teams. Sunday’s NHL on NBC match against the St. Louis Blues might dangle an extra carrot or two, though.
Most importantly, the Blues still need to cement a playoff spot that the Blackhawks clinched a week ago.
If thwarting their division rivals isn’t enough, then the Blackhawks can set an individual target: Brian Elliott.
Since returning from his conditioning stint in the AHL, Elliott seemingly transformed from the below-average backup he was in the beginning of the season to the guy who stunned the hockey world by becoming at All-Star last season.
He’s about a period short* of claiming the longest shutout streak in Blues’ franchise history, but the Blackhawks high-flying attack might not make that very easy.
Only the Pittsburgh Penguins have scored more goals than Chicago this season, and when you consider all the injuries that have besieged the East’s top team, one could argue that the ‘Hawks might have the most dangerous offense at this very moment.
Yet while that potent attack will challenge Elliott to make history, it’s the team’s overall dominance that must leave Ken Hitchcock green with envy. The Blackhawks have allowed an NHL-low 85 goals this season, signifying the kind of own-zone presence many would expect from St. Louis.
It all shapes up to be a huge test for a Blues team that some might pick to be a dangerous dark horse candidate. You can get an idea about how the Blues measure up against one of the league’s best teams by tuning in to NBC at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.
* – Elliott’s streak is at 189 minutes and 29 seconds; the Blues’ record is 201:24. He might even set his sights on Brian Boucher’s league-wide record of 332:01, although that can’t happen on Sunday.
- Chiarelli: At some point, I’m going to have to trade a defenseman 9
- Devils post-Martin Brodeur era about to truly start 1
- Report: Rangers expected to announce captain on Thursday 10
- Snider: Flyers not hiding behind ‘horrible mistake’ of signing Bryzgalov 18
- P.K. Subban: ‘I’m not trying to change the game of hockey’ 21
- Demand for Canucks tickets plummeting according to broker 36
- Report: Johansen, Blue Jackets talking contract 7
- NHL waiting on World Cup announcement, Olympics decision 9
- Leiweke calls out ‘just terrible’ character of certain players in Leafs organization 30
- Crosby: Pens must ‘find a way to get over that hump’ 13
- Will future tweaks be enough to salvage NHL 15? (50)
- This Darcy Kuemper-Minnesota Wild situation doesn’t sound good (40)
- Boychuk doesn’t want to be traded, but has no control over the matter (39)
- The KHL’s really trying to mow Minnesota’s lawn (38)
- Demand for Canucks tickets plummeting according to broker (36)