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New York Rangers (21-20-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (29-7-9)

January 8th, 2014 at 12:43 PM
By Andrew McIntyre

The Chicago Blackhawks are back in action tonight as they play host to the New York Rangers. The Blackhawks have suffered three overtime or shootout losses in their last five games, but have picked up at least one point in their last 10. The Rangers are 3-1-1 in their last five, and are coming off a shootout loss on Monday to the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is the first of two meetings between the teams. The other game will be played on February 27 in New York.

Here are some notes for tonight's game:

  • Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp has 12 points over his last seven games. He leads the team with 25 goals and is second on the team with 46 points. It will be interesting to see how Sharp responds now that he has been named to Team Canada's Olympic roster.
  • Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith has 17 points over his last 13 games. His 39 assists on the season rank third in the NHL and he leads all defensemen with 42 points.
  • It appears that Michal Rozsival will be the Blackhawks sixth defenseman tonight with Sheldon Brookbank being a healthy scratch.
  • Rangers rookie forward Chris Kreider leads the team with 11 goals. He ranks third among rookies with 24 points.
  • Rangers forward Ryan Callahan has two points in his last three games since returning from a knee injury. 
  • Former-Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo was acquired by the Rangers on Saturday. It is unknown whether he will dress for tonight's game or not. Carcillo has one goal, one assist and 57 penalty minutes in 26 games this season.

Battle Between The Pipes

Chicago Blackhawks: Corey Crawford (17-6-5, 2.47 GAA, .910 SV%)

Crawford has lost two straight (overtime and a shootout) since returning from a lower-body injury on January 2. He has stopped 71 of the 76 shots he has faced in the last two games. Crawford has yet to record a shutout on the season.

New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist (12-16-3, 2.78 GAA, .906 SV%)

Lundqvist has struggled this year which many relate to the change in size of the goalie pads. Lundqvist has allowed three or more goals in 10 of his last 11 games. Despite his struggles, Lundqvist has two shutouts this season and 47 for his career. He has the skill to beat a team by myself on any given night.

Players To Watch

Chicago Blackhawks: Forward, Patrick Kane: 23 G, 31 A, 54 P

Kane is tied for second in the NHL with 54 points, but has only registered one point in his last four games. Kane has been arguably the NHL's best player over the last two months, but has since cooled off. He will look to get back on track tonight against a Rangers team that has been playing better hockey.

New York Rangers: Forward, Rick Nash: 9 G, 9 A, 18 P

Nash has only played 27 games this year as he missed some time earlier in the year due to injury. He is coming off a two-goal performance on Monday and looks to be well on his way to another 20 goal season. Nash has surpassed the 20-goal mark nine times, including scoring a career-high 41 goals in 2003-2004 with Columbus.

X Factors

Chicago Blackhawks: Defenseman, Brent Seabrook: 5 G, 26 A, 31 P

Seabrook was left off of Team Canada's roster after playing for the team in 2010. He sits tied for sixth on the Blackhawks with 31 points and has 15 points over his last 15 games. Seabrook will look to continue his strong play as he could be chosen as an injury replacement if anything happens to a player on the current roster.

New York Rangers: Defenseman Ryan McDonagh: 7 G, 18 A, 25 P

McDonagh was selected for Team USA's Olympic roster and will represent his Country next month in Sochi, Russia. He is fourth on the Rangers with 25 points and has six points over his last six games. McDonagh is well on his way to surpassing his season-highs in every category.  

Tonight's game starts at 7 pm. CT.

Let's Go Hawks!

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