Surging Blackhawks make a stop in Calgary
A four-game winning streak has catapulted the Chicago Blackhawks to the top of the NHL standings with 27 points and it doesn't appear the club will slow down any time soon.
Two years removed from bringing the Stanley Cup back to Chicago, the surging Blackhawks will continue a six-game road trip Friday night against the Calgary Flames, a team they beat by a 4-1 score exactly one week ago. That game took place in the Windy City and was highlighted by goals from Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Viktor Stalberg and Patrick Kane. Patrick Sharp assisted on three of the goals and Ray Emery turned aside 24 of the 25 shots that went his way.
Chicago has won two straight and 15 of the previous 20 meetings with the Flames. It has dropped two in a row at the Saddledome after winning seven straight on Calgary ice.
The Blackhawks made it four consecutive wins overall with a 5-1 pounding of Vancouver in the opener of their "Circus Trip" on Wednesday. Kane, Jonathan Toews and Steve Montador each had a goal and an assist, while Sharp and Andrew Brunette also scored for the Blackhawks, who improved to 5-3-1 as the guest this season. Marian Hossa had three assists in the win.
"It's good to build on leads," Kane said. "Hopefully we can keep it up."
Corey Crawford was in net for Chicago and stopped 28 shots. He owns a 2.34 goals against average in his last three starts -- all victories.
Seabrook (lower body) is not expected to be in action tonight and Michael Frolik is questionable with an upper-body injury.
Chicago has scored no less than four goals in each of its last four games and will also make stops in Edmonton, San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles. The 12-4-3 start for the Hawks is their best since the 1982-83 season. Toews has eight points during the current winning streak.
Calgary has dropped four of its last six games, mustering more than one goal just twice in that span, and suffered a 3-1 loss versus Ottawa on Tuesday.
Tom Kostopoulos scored the only goal and Miikka Kiprusoff stopped just 29 shots in defeat. Coming into the game, Calgary had won three straight and eight of nine against Ottawa.
"I thought tonight we had some better looks on the power play," Flames head coach Brent Sutter said. "Nothing comes easy and they have to work through it. It is what it is, and we have to find a way to get through this."
Sutter's club has missed 17 straight chances with the man advantage and went 0-for-6 against the Sens. Calgary is a league-worst 2-for-40 on the power play at the Saddledome and is averaging only 2.12 goals-per-game.
"The bottom line is that the power play has to win you games in this league to get points," Flames blueliner Mark Giordano said on the team's site. "We haven't done a good enough job of it yet."
Flames forward David Moss (lower body) didn't play against the Senators and is questionable for Friday. Calgary will embark on a four-game road trip against the Blue Jackets, Red Wings, Blues and Wild after tonight's game.