The Chicago Blackhawks and their fans have very little to complain about as well as very little to worry about. Yes, they’ve lost 2 games in a row, to 2 solid hockey teams, it happens. However, it would help, the Blackhawks to maintain their symbolic dominance of the NHL, with a victory tonight, against a very good Anaheim Ducks team.[table “21” not found /]
Stats wise, the Hawks look to have the slightest of edges, in this matchup. Both teams are elite offensively, and both teams leave a little to be desired defensively. The Hawks have an edge in the Power Play, while the Ducks have an edge in the Penalty Kill. Possession and quality chances win most games, and the Hawks have the edge there, but the Ducks are no slouch.
The Ducks are in the middle of a tight race, in the Pacific Division, and currently sit in 2nd place. Recently, the Ducks have hit a bit of a cold streak, losing 3 of their last 4 games, and are 3-3-4, in their last 10 games. However, the Ducks are one of those teams that you can never truly count out of anything. Many think Anaheim could be a Stanley Cup contender, and that’s understandable, since the Ducks have elite NHL forwards in Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Even though he’s off to a slow start, in what is said to be his final NHL season, Teemu Selanne has always had the Hawks’ number.
Jonas Hiller looks to get the start, in net, for the Ducks. Hiller has fared well, in his career, against the Hawks. He has a career 9-4-2 record, with a 2.30 Goals Against Average, and a .928% Save Percentage.
The Blackhawks are facing a tough opponent in their quest to get back on track. The fact that they just played last night helps and hurts at the same time. It hurts due to fatigue reasons, but it helps to get back on the ice, as soon as possible, following a defeat, rather than letting it linger. Patrick Sharp is following the lead of Patrick Kane, in starting an offensive hot streak of his own, with 3 goals in his last 5 games. Expect Jonathan Toews to start scoring more rapidly, any game now, as he has only 1 point, in his last 5 games.
In net, it looks to be Antti Raanta getting his first career start, against the Ducks. However, stranger things have happened, and Blackhawks’ Head Coach Joel Quenneville could go back to Crawford, who he has the utmost amount of trust in, to end the mini-losing streak before it grows.
Two elite teams, in the midst of consecutive winless games. Something has to give, and something will give. There’s no better way to end a cold streak, than to beat an elite team. It should be a great game!