Nov 3, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Calgary Flames goalie Reto Berra (29) makes a save as Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) waits for a rebound during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Everyone expects the Chicago Blackhawks to make the playoffs with relative ease. Everyone expects the Calgary Flames to be in the hunt for the first overall pick, in the draft. Somehow, the Flames managed to stun the Blackhawks and the hockey world on November 3rd, in Chicago, and the Blackhawks surely haven’t forgotten.
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As you can see. this matchup heavily favors the Blackhawks. However, the Flames have scored a decent amount of goals, this season, and the Blackhawks have had their fair share of struggles, in their own zone, so the Flames should be able to score some goals, tonight. Having said that, the Flames have also allowed the most goals, while the Blackhawks have scored the most, so the Hawks will definitely get plenty of scoring chances. The x-factor, in this game, will be the goaltending.
The Flames are well rested, having been off since last Friday, when they defeated the Florida Panthers. Currently the Flames are floundering in 6th place, in the Pacific Division, and have their work cut out for them, if they want to climb back into contention. Jiri Hudler leads the Flames in points, with 1st round draft pick, and budding superstar, Sean Monahan, and veteran Mike Cammaleri also having nice offensive seasons. Kris Russell has been the Flames’ most dependable defenseman, this season.
Goaltending has been an adventure, for the Flames, this season. Reto Berra, who has started 10 of the last 11 games, will likely be in net tonight. Berra had a spectacular NHL debut, in the Flames’ previous matchup, against the Blackhawks. Since then, he has struggled, but he has also shown flashes of brilliance.
The Blackhawks keep chugging along on the Circus Trip, and a win tonight, will clinch a winning record, on the trip. Winners of 8 of their last 10, the Hawks may have to keep this pace up, throughout the season, if they want to stay atop the wildly competitive Central Division. Patrick Kane will be looking to extend his points streak to 12 games. Andrew Shaw has elevated his game, on several levels, and has been putting up lots of points, lately.
Corey Crawford finally gets a break! Tonight, in net, will be rookie Antti Raanta making his first career NHL start, tonight. The Hawks are hoping he can prove to be a solid backup, with one of their few question marks, this season, has been stability with their backup goaltenders.
This matchup heavily favors the Blackhawks, but it did on November 3rd, also, and the Flames stole a win, in Chicago. So, crazier things have happened. The Blackhawks will be looking for revenge, as well as a guaranteed above .500 record, on the Circus Trip, tonight, so they’ve got that as well as the stats, in their favor. It should be a good game!