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 Quenneville said.
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 for Chicago.
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 faced.
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 home (10-0-2).
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