Preview: Blackhawks at Lightning
Send a link to a friend
[March 27, 2017]
The Chicago Blackhawks look to
put an end to a string of unsatisfying performances when they visit
the desperate Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. The Blackhawks are in
control of the Central Division - and the Western Conference - as
they lead Minnesota by seven points with seven games to go but have
allowed 17 goals in their last four games, including Friday's 7-0
loss at Florida.
Chicago lost to Vancouver 5-4 in overtime on Tuesday and were
outshot 44-26 in a shootout win over Dallas two nights later while
coach Joel Quenneville called Friday’s setback an "ugly, ugly" game.
“If we continue to play like that and think we’re going to turn it
on come playoff time, we’ve got another thing coming,” Blackhawks
captain Jonathan Toews told reporters. The Lightning would just like
to get into the postseason after a campaign filled with injuries and
inconsistent play, but they swept a critical two-game road trip to
stay within three points of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern
Conference and four of third place in the Atlantic Division. Tampa
Bay’s Nikita Kucherov is making a run at the Maurice Richard Trophy
as he is four behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby (42) after scoring
seven in the last four games and 17 in the last 16 contests.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA, CSN Chicago
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (48-21-6): Reigning Hart Trophy winner Patrick
Kane was one of several Chicago players to struggle Friday as he
posted a minus-4 rating, but the team’s leading scorer still has
recorded 21 points in his last 15 games. Kane has notched 81 points
overall - seven behind Edmonton's Connor McDavid for the league lead
and 15 clear of teammate Artemi Panarin - while Toews is up to 55
with seven in his last seven games. Corey Crawford has allowed four
goals in two of his last three starts, with a brilliant 42-save
effort against Dallas sandwiched in between.
[to top of second column]
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (36-29-9): Kucherov is two away
from his first 40-goal season and has prospered with new center
Brayden Point, who set up the talented Russian for the overtime
winner at Detroit on Friday. Tyler Johnson (lower body), Kucherov’s
long-time linemate, is progressing but is not expected to play
Monday while defenseman Jason Garrison (lower body) also is
doubtful. Cedric Paquette (lower body) is practicing and could
return to the lineup Monday after missing the last eight games.
1. The Lightning have earned at least one point in their last 10
regular-season meetings with the Blackhawks (8-0-2).
2. Chicago RW Richard Panik, who scored eight times in the first 75
games of his career with Tampa Bay, has recorded 20 goals in 75
contests this season.
3. Tampa Bay LW Ondrej Palat, who is slated to play in his 300th NHL
game, has collected a goal and five assists during his four-game
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 4, Lightning 2
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten