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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 8th (All times Eastern)
New York Rangers (21-20-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (29-7-9), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - After losing two of three games to begin the new year, the Chicago Blackhawks will try to get back in the win column when they host the New York Rangers in Wednesday's clash at United Center.
Chicago is 1-0-2 so far in January, but it's not like the defending Stanley Cup champions are exactly struggling. The Blackhawks have earned a point in 10 straight games, going 6-0-4 during that stretch, and are still leading the Central Division with 67 points, two more than second-place St. Louis.
The Blackhawks were dealt a shootout loss in their most recent outing, dropping a 3-2 decision to San Jose on Sunday despite holding a 2-1 lead early in the third period.
Trailing 1-0 heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation, Chicago tallied twice early in the third period to grab the lead. Niklas Hjalmarsson scored 1:27 into the third to tie it and Michal Rozsival pushed the Blackhawks in front at the 4:01 mark. However, Brent Burns' 14th marker of the season evened things at 2-2 with 11:10 left in the third and the score would remain tied through overtime.
Corey Crawford turned aside 40-of-42 shots through regulation and OT, but he yielded shootout goals to Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski in the loss.
"We didn't really start the way we wanted to," Chicago forward Kris Versteeg said. "We came out in the third and really played our game. I thought we worked hard. Could've drawn maybe a couple more penalties, but that was the way the game went and we just had to fight through it."
Chicago is 15-2-6 as the host this season and hasn't lost in regulation in the Windy City since losing to Dallas on Dec. 3.
The Rangers also have lost two of their last three games, but were able to gain a point with a comeback effort Monday against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets. Mark Letestu scored the winner in the shootout for the Blue Jackets in the 4-3 decision, but that was after New York erased a 3-1 deficit by scoring twice in the third period.
Rick Nash had two goals while Brian Boyle scored the other marker for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 shots in the loss.
"It's a good feeling for everyone in here the way we rallied in the third and we're able to get a point," said Lundqvist. "Of course it would have been nice to get two, but you have to take something positive out of this."
New York is 13-10-0 as the visiting team this season, but after this evening's test the club will play four straight and seven of its next eight at Madison Square Garden.
Chicago has won two straight and three of the last four meetings against the Rangers, but Wednesday's tilt marks the first game in this series since the Blackhawks beat New York at the United Center on March 9, 2012. That was the second straight loss in the Windy City for the Rangers, who have managed just one win in their last six trips to Chicago.
01/08 10:51:48 ET