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Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues Preview: Hawks Defense Looks To Improve In Ken Hitchcock's Debut

The Blackhawks hope to put their recent losing streak behind them and put together a win against the disheveled St. Louis Blues, who suddenly made Ken Hitchcock their head coach earlier this week.

GAMETIME: 7 p.m. CST at Scottrade Center (St. Louis)

The Chicago Blackhawks (8-3) face off against the St. Louis Blues (6-7) tonight in a division matchup that should strongly favor the Blackhawks.

The Blues, who will be playing with their new head coach Ken Hitchcock for the first time this season, have struggled through the early part of the season, losing three out of their last four, plummeting to the lower half of the Central Division Standings:

Central Standings

Chicago 14 8 3 3 19
Nashville 13 7 4 2 16
Detroit 12 6 5 1 13
St. Louis 13 6 7 0 12
Columbus 14 2 11 1 5

(updated 11.8.2011 at 8:57 AM EST)

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, have seen their comfortable grasp of the Central Division descend into tenuous territory, losing their second straight game on Sunday after allowing 4 goals in the second period alone to the Vancouver Canucks and an average of 4.5 goals over their last four games.

Now, with just three points separating them from the Nashville Predators, the Blackhawks look to rebuild their lead, hopefully with the help of a healthy Duncan Keith and some more effective defensive play.

For up-to-date news for all Chicago sports, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago, and for in-depth commentary and analysis on the Blackhawks, drop by Second City Hockey.