Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues - Live Stream, Tips and NHL Match Preview

St. Louis Blues (47-14-7, 1st CEN 1st WC) look to further their steadily increasing lead atop the Western Conference standings tonight when they pay a visit to Central division rival Chicago Blackhawks (39-15-15, 3rd CEN 5th WC).

The game takes place at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois and is scheduled to start at 00:00 GMT.

In the UK, the game airs live on Premier Sports, while it is also streaming live online with bet365.

Watch Blues at Blackhawks live here:

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Preview:

These days, it always seems to be sunny in St. Louis, where the league-leading Blues are riding a stellar wave of form which has seen them go nine consecutive games without a regulation loss. Monday's 3-1 victory over Winnipeg was further testament to the team's all-encompassing approach to the game; indeed, they blitz the opposition with a combination of offensive skill, defensive depth and goaltending like perhaps no other club in the league.

Since being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres a week prior to the March 5th trade deadline, goaltender Ryan Miller (22-22-4, 2.53GAA .925SP) has been as-advertised for the Blues. He has 7 wins in eight starts with the club, and has allowed more than 2 goals in a start just once (3-2 OT loss to Dallas). St. Louis had hoped that, in acquiring Miller, they were solving the goaltending question that had plagued them for years now. If he continues to play the way he has thusfar in a Blues uniform, and should the team decide that he is a long-term option as the starter after this season, they will have solved the question completely.

Another play who will be key to the Blues playoff successes this season is offensive dynamo Alex Steen (30-23, +15). The Blues forward has always been considered a wealth of untapped offensive potential, and it is only this season that he has stepped into the role of pre-eminent goal scorer. His 30 goals lead the team, and are in the top-10 in the league. For a team which has been without a 35+ goal scorer for years now, Steen represents outstanding value for investment (a meager $3.3 million salary), and a real catalyst in their defense-first system. 

The defending champs have been somewhat stagnant of late, neither excelling as they try and chase down the Blues for the Central lead, nor tumbling dramatically down the Western conference standings. On the back of a 3-2 overtime defeat to Philadelphia on Tuesday, their 4-5-1 record in their last 10 has seen them drop a spot to fifth in the conference.

It's difficult to fault any of the Hawks top scorers for their recent swoon; they are all point-per-game performers, and have lived up admirably to the high production marks they set during last season's championship run. Still, numbers like Patrick Kane's (2 goals in the last 10GP) and Patrick Sharp's (1 goal in last 10GP) speak to the fact that perhaps this is a team which is a bit tired right now. Along with last season's grueling spring to the Stanley Cup, both of those players have participated in every Blackhawks game this season, as well as the whole of the Sochi Olympics in February. It is indeed fair to say that even the best trained athletes can suffer from the wear and tear of a schedule like that, but it is key to the Hawks playoff hopes that these guys, along with a few others, recapture their scoring form before the spring rolls around.

One guy who hasn't fallen off (and never seems to fall off) is Hawks captain Jonathan Toews (27-38, +27). The 25 year old has had the exact same workload as his aforementioned colleagues, yet seems to not have missed a beat for the club. His mark of 10 points (8-2) in the team's last eight games has largely been what has kept them afloat, and is indicative of a world-class talent who is currently playing in his prime. With two Stanley Cups and two Olympic Gold medals already under his belt, Toews could perhaps be forgiven for being a little complacent. On the contrary, though; the Hawks captain seems as driven to greatness as ever, and is even perhaps an underdog bet to get some M.V.P. votes at the conclusion of the regular season.

Right now, with apologies to Boston, there is simply no better team in the league than the St. Louis Blues. They are firing on all cylinders, and have enviable depth and skill at every position. Questions may still linger about the playoff pedigree of some of their key players, but in terms of regular season success, this is a roster which is difficult to match. The Blues are 3-0 against the Hawks already this season, and there is no reason to believe that they won't elevate their game to the level of the defending champs in order to make it four-for-four.

Pick: St. Louis.

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Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues - Live Stream, Tips and NHL Match Preview

St. Louis Blues (47-14-7, 1st CEN 1st WC) look to further their steadily increasing lead atop the Western Conference standings tonight when they pay a visit to Central division rival Chicago Blackhawks (39-15-15, 3rd CEN 5th WC).

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