The Chicago Blackhawks look to win six games in a row Tuesday as they’re set to face off with the Ottawa Senators at home. The Senators are coming off of back-to-back wins against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders and are playing their third game in four nights. The Blackhawks are also coming off back-to-back wins, however. Following a 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues and a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, the Blackhawks are also looking to win their third game in four nights.
This is the first time the Blackhawks and Senators will face off in the 2016-17 season. Both teams currently hold playoff spots as well with the Blackhawks sitting in first place in the Central Division – and the NHL, and the Senators holding the second spot in the Atlantic Division.
Both teams will be dealing with injuries and absences in net heading into the game. The entire hockey world knows about the situation involving Craig Anderson and his wife – which took a positive step forward as of late. Additionally, they lost Andrew Hammond to injury on Sunday, forcing the Senators to roll with Mike Condon and Matt O’Connor. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are still without Corey Crawford for the time being.
Ottawa Senators at Chicago Blackhawks
United Center – 7:30 p.m. CT
Broadcast channels – CSN-CH, RDS
2016-17 Season Series: First Matchup of the Season
Ottawa Senators – 18-11-3 – 39 points
Away Record: 8-6-0
Hot Players: Bobby Ryan, Derick Brassard, Zack Smith
Key Injuries/Absences: Clarke MacArthur, Andrew Hammond, Craig Anderson
Mike Hoffman-Derick Brassard-Mark Stone
Ryan Dzingle-Kyle Turris-Bobby Ryan
Zack Smith-Jean-Gabriel Pageau-Tom Pyatt
Chris Kelly-Curtiz Lazar-Chris Neil
Mark Methot-Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf-Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki-Chris Wideman
Chicago Blackhawks – 22-8-4 – 48 Points
Road Record: 13-2-3
Hot Players: Artemi Panarin, Marian Hossa, Vinnie Hinostroza
Key Injuries: Corey Crawford, Artem Anisimov
Artemi Panarin-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Vinnie Hinostroza-Marian Hossa
Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger -Richard Panik
Tyler Motte-Andrew Desjardins-Jordin Tootoo
Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Brian Campbell-Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling-Trevor van Riemsdyk
1)The Chicago Blackhawks have won five straight games and will look to continue rolling following the roster freeze. Maintaining the top spot in the Central Division and the NHL is certainly a manageable goal for the Blackhawks as they head into the break from Dec. 24 until Dec. 26.
2)Both teams are playing their third game in four nights. While the Senators were able to win their back-to-back games against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders, the Blackhawks’ will give them a much harder test, especially at the United Center.
3)Anisimov is out of the lineup once again Tuesday after suffering an injury against the St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks will continue to use Toews between Panarin and Kane on their top line – which worked well in a 4-1 victory against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.
4)Darling has done a good job manning the net for the Blackhawks in the absence of Crawford. While he struggled in two straight games last week, he recovered nicely against the Sharks and helped pull out the victory by holding the Sharks to just one goal on 34 shots. He will be starting in his 10th consecutive game tonight.
The Chicago Blackhawks currently hold the top spot in the NHL and would love to keep things that way heading into the break. If they intend on doing so, Tuesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators and Friday’s against the Colorado Avalanche will need to be similar to Sunday’s game against the Sharks. Four goals should be enough for any team to win a game. Similarly, one goal-against should be enough for a team to find a way to win as well. If they can continue to combine strong offense and stout goaltending heading into the break, Chicago should be able to maintain their top spot and breathe easy heading into the break.