NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, December 6th
(All times Eastern)
Anaheim Ducks (18-7-5) at Chicago Blackhawks (20-6-4), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks ended last month on a six-game
winning streak, but have found December less fruitful early on.
The Blackhawks look to avoid their first three-game slide of the season on
Friday night as they play host to the Anaheim Ducks.
Chicago closed November with its annual "Circus Trip," with this season's
swing lasting seven games from Nov. 19-30. The Blackhawks dropped the opener
of the trip in Colorado, but won out the rest of the way for their longest
winning streak of the season.
December opened with a home game against Dallas, one Chicago lost by a 4-3
margin. The Blackhawks were defeated by the same score last night in
Minnesota, giving up two late goals in the third period.
After the Wild scored the game's first two goals, Jeremy Morin, Brandon Saad
and Marian Hossa all tallied to put the Blackhawks in front, but Minnesota got
the game-tying goal on a power play with 5:39 to play before Marco Scandella's
first goal of the season put the Wild ahead 4-3 with 1:48 left on the clock.
"We had an opportunity there. A couple penalty kills off us and that's the
differential to me. ... It was a game we had right where we wanted it and we
needed a (penalty) kill and we didn't get it done," Chicago head coach Joel
Corey Crawford made 19 saves in defeat as the Blackhawks have lost back-to-
back games for the first time since Oct. 24-26.
Both Andrew Shaw (undisclosed) and Michal Handzus (illness) missed the game
Crawford is 5-4-1 with a 2.22 goals against average in his career versus the
Ducks, while backup Antti Raanta has never faced them.
Raanta has made just two NHL starts in his career, both coming on the recent
road trip, and has won each of them while giving up four goals on 56 shots
Chicago also will be looking to halt a four-game losing streak to the Ducks
that includes a setback in all three meetings a season ago. The teams have
split the past six meetings in the Windy City.
The Ducks have lost consecutive shootout decisions overall and are coming off
Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. The tiebreaker went nine rounds,
with the first 16 skaters coming up empty before Los Angeles' Dwight King beat
Jonas Hiller with a wrister.
Mathieu Perreault then failed on his attempt.
"It's tough to lose that way," said Hiller, who made a season-high 49 saves
through overtime. "I don't know if he missed a shot a little bit, but it kind
of caught me right between the pad and my glove. It's a tough one."
Corey Perry had a goal and an assist and Ryan Getzlaf also scored for the
Ducks, who did remain the lone team this season without a regulation loss at
Anaheim is 8-7-3 on the road.
Perreault, meanwhile, did not travel to Chicago due to a lower-body injury and
the Ducks recalled both left wing Emerson Etem and center David Steckel from
Norfolk of the American Hockey League.
Hiller is 9-4-2 with a 2.30 GAA in 16 career games versus the Blackhawks.
12/06 10:49:38 ET