Preview: Blackhawks at Senators
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[March 16, 2017]
Patrick Kane has ratcheted up
his play with 16 goals and 27 points in his last 17 games, leading
the Chicago Blackhawks to a 14-3-0 mark in that span and a perch
atop the Western Conference. The reigning Hart Trophy winner will
look to continue his torrid display without a key linemate on
Thursday as the Blackhawks visit the Ottawa Senators in the second
contest of their three-game Canadian road trip.
Kane scored his team-leading 31st goal and added a pair of assists
in Tuesday's 4-2 victory over Montreal, but will see promising Nick
Schmaltz on his line with Artemi Panarin after Artem Anisimov
sustained a left leg injury that will keep him on the sideline for
three to four weeks. "Both times when (Anisimov) went out (to
injury), I thought he did an excellent job in that role," coach Joel
Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times of the 21-year-old Schmaltz.
While Chicago surpassed Minnesota in the Central, Ottawa has closed
to within one point of Atlantic Division-leading Montreal on the
strength of a 6-0-1 mark this month. Mike Condon turned aside 35
shots in a 2-1 overtime loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday, but drew rave
reviews from both his teammates and the majority of the crowd at
Canadian Tire Centre that chanted his name throughout the contest.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, RDS, TSN5 (Ottawa), NHL.TV
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (44-20-5): With Schmaltz shuffling to play with
Kane and Panarin, Yale product John Hayden is expected to make his
NHL debut on a line with captain Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik.
"To be honest, playing with anyone would be a great opportunity,"
Hayden told the Chicago Sun-Times. "The whole locker room is filled
with household names. It's exciting." Corey Crawford is one such
name and the veteran goaltender has recorded at least 40 saves in
back-to-back contests to improve to 10-3-0 with a .925 save
percentage in his last 13 appearances.
[to top of second column]
ABOUT THE SENATORS (39-22-7): Captain Erik Karlsson
is a two-time Norris Trophy winner, but coach Guy Boucher told
reporters that he thinks the 26-year-old Swede is deserving of Hart
Trophy consideration this season. "Oh my God, absolutely, 100
percent," Boucher said of Karlsson, who leads the team in both
assists (49) and points (62). "With what he's done this year, the
way he's done it, I can't imagine better. I just can't. Right now
it's absolutely sublime, it really is. In every aspect, leadership,
on ice, off ice, he's at the core of what we’re trying to do."
1. Ottawa RW Bobby Ryan, who returned from an 11-game absence due to
an injured finger on Tuesday, scored and set up a goal in the first
encounter with Chicago.
2. Panarin has scored a goal in three straight games overall and
also tallied in the first meeting between the teams.
3. Senators C Derick Brassard, who scored in the first encounter
with the Blackhawks, has just one goal in his last 12 games.
PREDICTION: Senators 4, Blackhawks 2
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