Corey Crawford, Jonathan Toews

‘Hawks brace for nine-game, 20-day road trip


Starting tomorrow, the Chicago Blackhawks will embark on a historic road trip — nine games in 20 days — which, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is just the 17th time in NHL history that a team will have a trip of nine games or longer.

More, from ESPN’s Jesse Rogers:

The Hawks have broken up each three-game segment into three different trips. After each one they’ll come home for a change of clothes and a practice before heading back out. It’s sure to test their mettle as well as their 29-15-6 record.

This will be the third time in team history they’ve played nine consecutive games away from home.

The last time they did it was in 1994. They went 4-5 after starting the trip 3-1. Prior to that the only other nine-game trip came in the 1955-1956 season. They also went 4-5.

Let’s take a look at Chicago’s three mini-trips.

Trip 1: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary

The roadie starts with a bang against rival Vancouver. This matchup promises to be angrier than usual — it’s the first time Dave Bolland will face Daniel and Henrik Sedin since calling them “the sisters” on Chicago radio, which drew the ire of Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault and defenseman Kevin Bieksa.

As for the rest of the trip, it’ll be interesting to see former Canuck and Flame Brendan Morrison face off against his former mates. Morrison was acquired by Chicago over the All-Star break.

Trip 2: Colorado, San Jose, Phoenix

The ‘Hawks play back-to-back against the Sharks and Coyotes — the game in Phoenix will be Chicago’s fifth in eight nights (and all on the road, obviously.) There’s a definite energy/weardown concern for that one, especially since Phoenix beat Chicago in their first two matchups of the season by a combined 8-4 score.

Trip 3: Nashville, New York Rangers, Columbus

Nashville is one of the NHL’s hottest teams right now — the Preds have won nine of their last 10 and are three points back of Detroit for top spot in the league. They’ve also beaten Chicago in back-to-back matchups and are 16-7-3 at Bridgestone Arena this year…so yeah, that’s a tough one for the ‘Hawks.

The Rangers game will be cool as it’s an Original Six matchup and the Columbus contest, while very winnable, is the definition of a trap game.

Start the Carr: Habs recall another player from the minors

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There’s been a lot of movement between Montreal and Saint John’s lately and that continued on Sunday.

This time, it’s forward Daniel Carr who’ll be getting a stint with the big club.

Carr has no prior NHL experience.

The 24-year-old spent four years at Union College before joining the Canadiens organization as an undrafted free agent.

In his first season as a pro, Carr scored 24 goals (led the team) and 39 points in 76 AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2014-15.

This year, Carr has seven goals and 15 points in 20 games.

Montreal is without forwards Torrey Mitchell, Brendan Gallagher and Alexander Semin.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.