The Chicago Blackhawks head to The Pond in Anaheim tonight to take on the Ducks (7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN) and try to avoid going on another losing streak and facing a playoff-hungry team.
The Ducks’ run of late under Bruce Boudreau has been awe-inspiring considering how bad off they were earlier this season. While the Ducks are 13th in the Western Conference, they’re a mere six points out of the final playoff spot. Anaheim has won eight of their last ten games and has gotten points in 10 of their last 11. Corey Perry has looked like a MVP once again, Teemu Selanne keeps on keepin’ on and Jonas Hiller has been a horse in goal.
With those three as well as a secretly great season out of Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf slowly but surely finding his stride, it’s no wonder Boudreau is looking like a genius in Anaheim. Staying smart against Chicago will provide a big enough test.
The Blackhawks head into tonight’s game after being humbled 4-0 by the low-scoring Kings and Dustin Brown. You could say the Blackhawks are officially streaky now though. After dropping nine straight games and then winning four straight following that, they’ve now lost their last two games. Fortunately for the Blackhawks they’re still a playoff team sitting sixth in the West. Staying up without captain Jonathan Toews (out with a concussion) is proving tough.
In Toews’ stead, Marian Hossa has been huge and even Viktor Stalberg is finding the net on occasion. The real reasons the Blackhawks have pulled out of their funk, however, are Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford. Keith’s point production has been monstrous from the blue line while Crawford figured his game out after that extended slump.
Chicago will need both to be sharp if they’re to take down the Ducks and put a hurting on their playoff hopes. It also wouldn’t hurt to cash in on the power play as they haven’t scored in 39 straight man advantages.