Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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Preview: Blackhawks at Flyers

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[March 18, 2014]  A healthy Marian Hossa is paramount to Chicago repeating as Stanley Cup champion as the 35-year-old right wing plays his second game since missing five with an upper-body injury when the Blackhawks visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. The Blackhawks snapped out of a 3-5-0 funk  2-3-0 without Hossa  with Sunday's 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, and Hossa played a key role by recording a goal and two assists in his return to the top line centered by captain Jonathan Toews. "It's great to come back and try to help the team," Hossa told reporters. "It's five games, so I don't know how much fresher I'll be than the other guys. But there's some benefit, maybe."

Chicago led St. Louis by two points in the Central Division following its 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh at Soldier Field on March 1 when Hossa was injured, but coupled with the Blues' 8-0-1 stretch have fallen nine points back and into third place  one point behind Colorado. Philadelphia is coming off a home-and-home sweep of injury-riddled Pittsburgh over the weekend while holding captain Sidney Crosby without a point. The Flyers are in second place behind the runaway-leader Penguins in the Metropolitan Division, one point clear of Columbus and the New York Rangers. Philadelphia started the season 1-7-0, but vaulted back into playoff position by going 9-2-1 in its last 12 games.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, TSN2, CSN-Chicago, CSN-Philadelphia

ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (39-15-14): While Hossa and his 25 goals and 53 points returned to the lineup, left wing Brandon Saad did not play in the third period Sunday because of an upper-body injury. The team leader with a plus-29 rating, Saad did not make the trip to Philadelphia after being re-evaluated Monday. Toews is razor sharp of late, scoring in two straight games  one short-handed  and has eight goals in his last seven contests. Center Teuvo Teravainen, a 19-year-old prospect and the No. 18 pick in the 2012 draft, could soon join the Blackhawks after his team in Finland  Jokerit  was eliminated from the playoffs Sunday.

ABOUT THE FLYERS (35-25-7): Philadelphia plays 12 of its final 15 games against teams either entrenched in playoff position or among a large group fighting for the final six postseason spots in the Eastern Conference. It will do so with power-play and penalty-killing units which produced five goals against Pittsburgh, including short-handed tallies in each game from Matt Read. Wayne Simmonds (two power-play goals) and captain Claude Giroux also had productive weekends with four points apiece.

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  1. The Blackhawks have won once in its last 10 games in Philadelphia.

  2. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville has 699 victories, third on the all-time list behind Scotty Bowman (1,244) and Al Arbour (782).

  3. The Blackhawks had seven players score in a 7-2 victory over Philadelphia on Dec. 11 for their first win in three meetings since defeating the Flyers in six games to win the 2010 Stanley Cup.

PREDICTION: Blackhawks 3, Flyers 2

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