6:00 PM Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, ONT
TV: Comcast Sports Net Chicago
Radio: 720 AM WGN
Tonight is the one and only meeting between the Blackhawks and the Ottawa Senators in a battle of 6 seeds. The Senators have been a big surprise this season and have been red hot lately. The Sens have gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and are coming off a shutout victory over the Boston Bruins. Jason Spezza and Eric Karlsson are two of the hottest players on ice these days. These two have combined for an astonishing 39 points (15 G, 24 A) in the last 10 games! Karlsson not only could be considered for the Norris Trophy but he should be in the discussion for the Hart as well.
Former Blackhawk and Park Ridge native Craig Anderson has been out of action due to cutting his hand in an accident in his home. We will see his replacement Robin Lehner in goal tonight. He has won all 3 of his starts posting a 1.33 GAA .954 save %. The Senators have 3 players who have already scored over 20 goals. Spezza and Milan Michalek both have 28 and the ageless wonder Daniel Alfredsson has 22. Ottawa will provide a tough matchup for the Blackhawks shorthanded defensive unit. Not only are both of these teams in 6th place in their respective conferences, but the both average 2.98 goals and game and both give up 2.92 goal a game. This game has shootout written all over it!
Not much new on the Blackhawks side of things. I wouldn’t expect many changes from Wednesday night. The only change will be Ray Emery getting the start in net over Roberto Crawford. You know the Blackhawks goalie situation is bad when people are actually asking about Christobal Huet! Those people should have their heads examined by a professional. Jonathan Toews did not make the trip and you should be worried about his condition, I know I am. Niklas Hjalmarrson did make the road trip but will not play tonight. He could return to action Sunday in Detroit. This will be a tough challenge for the Hawks, but if they can get at least a point tonight it will go a long way.