Blues keep charging as they visit Blackhawks

The St. Louis Blues are battling for Central Division supremacy a mere three months after owning the fewest points in the NHL.

Fueled by a sterling 28-10-4 run since Jan. 3, the red-hot Blues (43-28-8) look to continue their winning ways on Wednesday night when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks (34-33-12).

"Obviously, it's been a great run with all the stuff we have (gone through) during this year," said forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored his team-leading 31st goal on Monday as St. Louis improved to 7-1-1 in its last nine games with a 3-2 shootout victory over Colorado.

"It's really good and I'm really proud of everyone on this team, how we went from last place in the league," Tarasenko said. "There's still a lot of stuff to play for. There's no time to rest and hang on to this success. We need to improve this and keep going."

Tarasenko has scored three goals and set up another in his last five games heading into the tilt versus Chicago, against which he recorded a pair of two-goal performances in October.

Ryan O'Reilly boosted his club-best totals in assists (47) and points (74) when he set up Tarasenko's tally just 14 seconds into the third period against the Avalanche.

O'Reilly, who scored the lone goal in the shootout, has one goal and five assists in the season series with the Blackhawks.

Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington was in the American Hockey League for the first four meetings between the Central Division rivals. The 25-year-old made his season debut in mid-December before posting 22 wins in 2019, tying teammate Jake Allen (2014-15) for the most by a St. Louis rookie goalie.

"I'm very appreciative of that," Binnington said.

"I've been fortunate to play a lot of games here in the final stretch of the season. Just to be recognized like that is pretty special. I'm excited. I'm happy with this organization and this team, so we're just going to keep working, keep our heads down, and stay composed."

While St. Louis has stepped up its game as it battles Winnipeg and Nashville atop the Central, Chicago has dropped six of eight (2-3-3) to reside in the cellar of the division.

"I know where we stand, but now is not the time to evaluate anything or summarize anything," coach Jeremy Colliton said after Monday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Jets. "I just want us to perform to our highest level. That's how we're going to move this thing forward."

Captain Jonathan Toews matched a career high on Monday by scoring his 34th goal when he converted on the power play in the first period. The 30-year-old added an assist on Dylan Strome's second tally of the contest to set a career high with 78 points.

Toews has three goals and two assists in the season series against St. Louis while former Hart Trophy recipient Patrick Kane has four and three, respectively.

Kane, who is tied with Alex DeBrincat with a club-best 41 goals, has tallied just once in his last 15 games.

Chicago has won three of the four meetings between the teams, with a pair of overtime decisions in October to go along with a 1-0 victory on Nov. 14.

--Field Level Media
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