Preview: Blackhawks at Rangers
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[February 27, 2014]
Captain Jonathan Toews skated away
from the Sochi Winter Games with several fond memories - and a gold
medal to boot. After helping guide Team Canada to glory, Toews looks to
continue his positive momentum on Thursday, when he leads the Chicago
Blackhawks into Madison Square Garden to face the New York Rangers.
Toews joined defenseman Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp as the mighty
Canadians skated to a 3-0 triumph over Henrik Lundqvist, Carl Hagelin
and Team Sweden in the gold-medal match on Sunday.
While Toews found himself on the cover of Sports Illustrated,
teammate Patrick Kane struggled through the Winter Games -
highlighted by his two failed penalty shots as the United States
dropped a 5-0 decision to Finland in the bronze-medal contest. While
Lundqvist and Hagelin settled for silver in the Olympics, Mats
Zuccarello suffered a worse conclusion to his Olympic experience -
an injury. The Norwegian is expected to be sidelined two to three
weeks after fracturing his left hand while blocking a shot.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CSN (Chicago), MSG (New York)
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (35-11-14): Although he was held without a goal
in Sochi, Kane kept his head up when describing his Olympic
experience. "I felt like I played decent and had enough chances to
put up some good numbers," said Kane, who finished with four
assists. "Just didn't happen that way. I'm actually, if you can
believe it, excited where my game is, where I can improve and get
better." Thursday's contest wraps up a seven-game road trip for
Chicago - with Saturday's Stadium Series tilt versus Pittsburgh
being played at Soldier Field.
[to top of second column]
ABOUT THE RANGERS (32-24-3): Cam Talbot has been confirmed to start
against Western Conference-foe Chicago while Lundqvist is expected
to get the nod in Saturday's contest versus Metropolitan
Division-rival Philadelphia. Although he stopped 150-of-159 shots to
win five of his six contests in Sochi, Lundqvist told the New York
Daily News that he didn't feel exhausted entering a key stretch for
the Rangers. "Physically, I feel great. Mentally, you spend
yesterday, maybe a little bit today you spend to just let it all go
and reflect a little bit, and you start preparing for what’s ahead,"
Lundqvist said. "... I'm really excited to start playing here for
this final push."
1. Hagelin scored the go-ahead goal and Lundqvist turned aside 35
shots in New York's 3-2 road victory over Chicago on Jan. 8.
2. Chicago acquired D Brian Connelly from Minnesota for LW Brad
Winchester on Wednesday. The 27-year-old Connelly will report to
Rockford of the American Hockey League.
3. New York summoned C J.T. Miller from Hartford of the AHL on
Tuesday to replace Zuccarello on the third line.
PREDICTION: Rangers 3, Blackhawks 2
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