The Chicago Blackhawks start their six-game road trip tonight as they get ready to take on the Calgary Flames. The Blackhawks have lost three straight games and have struggled to capitalize on scoring chances over the last few weeks. In Sunday's game against the Winnipeg Jets, the Blackhawks held a 22-2 shot advantage at one point, but only led 1-0 after two periods. The Jets then poured it on in the third period and scored three unanswered goals for the 3-1 win over the Blackhawks. The Flames have won two in a row after losing four straight. This is the third and final meeting between the teams. The teams have split the first two meetings which each game being decided by a 3-2 score.
Here are some notes for the game:
- Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell was a healthy scratch on Sunday, but will be back in the lineup as Michal Handzus will be given a rest day. The Blackhawks recalled forward Brandon Pirri from their AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, and he will also be in the lineup tonight.
- With tonight being the first of six straight road games before the Olympic break for the Blackhawks, they must come out strong and capitalize when they have scoring chances. The Blackhawks are 14-6-5 on the road.
- The Flames are 2-0-0 in their current five-game homestand.
- Flames defenseman Mark Giordano has six points during his current six-game point streak.
- The Flames are expected to get back defenseman Ladislav Smid who missed their last game with an undisclosed injury. Forwards Michael Cammalleri (concussion) and Curtis Glencross (ankle) are still out.
Battle Between The Pipes
Raanta is expected to get the start tonight for the Blackhawks. He is coming off only his second regulation loss of the season which saw him allow two goals on 19 shots on January 23 against the Minnesota Wild. Raanta played in the last meeting against the Flames and stopped 20 of 22 shots en route to picking up the victory.
Berra will get the start in net tonight for the Flames. Berra is coming off a win on January 24 after losing six straight games. He has played in both games against the Blackhawks this season, posting a 1-1-0 record and allowing five goals on 74 shots. Berra has really struggled in his first year in the league, but seems to show up big against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Players To Watch
Kane is second on the team in goals and leads the team in points. At one point during the season he was right behind Sidney Crosby for the league lead in points, but he has since cooled off only recording five points over his last 10 games. Kane has three goals and one assist against the Flames this season and a matchup with them tonight could be exactly what he needs to get going again.
Hudler is second on the Flames in goals and leads the team in points by a great margin. The next highest point total on the team belongs to defenseman Mark Giordano who has 24. Hudler has had a solid year, but has been held without a point in four of his last five games. He has two assists in the first two meetings against the Blackhawks.
Pirri was recalled yesterday from the AHL and is expected to be in the lineup tonight. He has played in 24 games with the Blackhawks this season. He has zero points in two games against the Flames this season and has failed to record a point in his last eight games in the NHL. Pirri was sent down due to his lack of dedication on the defensive end of the ice. It will be something to keep an eye on as he is a talented forward who has the tools to be a good player in this league.
Monahan leads the team in goals and is fifth in points. The 19-year old rookie from Brampton, Ontario, Canada is a talented player who needs to work on consistency. He has just two points over his last 10 games and has failed to record an assist since November 18.
Tonight's game starts at 8:30 pm. CT.
Let's Go Hawks!
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