Preview: Blackhawks at Senators

Send a link to a friend  Share

[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

[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Back to top