Thursday, November 20, 2014
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Preview: Blackhawks at Flames

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[November 20, 2014]  Calgary earned plenty of early-season attention on the strength of a solid road record, but the Flames are showing everyone that they are a decent team in their own arena, too. Calgary looks to improve to 4-0-0 on its five-game homestand Thursday evening as it welcomes the Chicago Blackhawks to town. Defenseman Dennis Wideman had a pair of goals and Sean Monahan converted in the shootout as the Flames upended Anaheim 4-3 Tuesday.

While Calgary makes its mark at home, the Blackhawks are looking for consistently strong efforts on the road, having alternated wins and losses over their last five games away from Chicago. The Blackhawks were at their best in their previous contest, riding four third-period goals to a 6-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. Thursday marks the opener of a six-game road trip that will also take Chicago to Edmonton, Vancouver, Colorado, Anaheim and Los Angeles.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, CSN-CH (Chicago), SNF (Calgary)

ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (10-7-1): Chicago's annual circus road trip is often greeted with disdain by players and coaches, though at least one skater is looking on the bright side. "The travel (stinks), obviously," forward Andrew Shaw said earlier in the week. "But being on the road with the guys, it's kind of nice. You get to know the guys a little more." The Blackhawks will look to continue their success on the penalty kill, where they enter the grueling trek with the league's most efficient unit at 92.3 percent.

ABOUT THE FLAMES (12-6-2): In addition to being much improved on the road, Calgary has made a point of saving the best for last more than any other team in the league. The Flames have scored an NHL-best 27 third-period goals this season, including three against Anaheim that helped erase a two-goal deficit and lead to the eventual shootout triumph. "It's a cool feeling," Flames forward Lance Bouma told the Calgary Sun. "Guys really enjoy these moments and want to be in these moments and have done a good job this year."

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1. Chicago will play just two of its next 12 games at the United Center.

2. The Blackhawks rank fifth in the league with 21 third-period goals.

3. Three of the last four meetings have gone to overtime, with the Flames winning each time.

PREDICTION: Flames 3, Blackhawks 2

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