NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, January 4th (All times eastern)
Calgary Flames (23-11-4) at Chicago Blackhawks (20-8-7), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Coming off a home-and-home sweep at the hands of a division rival -- including a setback in the 2009 Winter Classic -- the Chicago Blackhawks will try to get back on track tonight against the Calgary Flames at the United Center.
Chicago had plenty of momentum heading into its two-game set with the Detroit Red Wings, but after having a franchise-record nine-game winning streak end with a 4-0 loss in Motown last Tuesday, the Blackhawks dropped a 6-4 test to Detroit in Thursday's New Year's Day clash at Wrigley Field.
Playing outdoors in the stadium that usually houses the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball, Kris Versteeg, Martin Havlat and Ben Eager all scored first- period goals to stake the Blackhawks to an early 3-1 lead, but the Red Wings netted the next five tallies to claim the win.
Havlat had a goal and two assists, and Versteeg ended with a goal and one assist for Chicago, which technically fell to 11-2-4 at home this year while having a five-game winning streak as the host end.
The setback also dropped the Blackhawks eight points behind first-place Detroit in the Central Division, a deficit that swelled to 10 points after the Red Wings victory last night in Minnesota.
Cristobal Huet started in net for the Blackhawks, but was pulled in the third period after allowing six goals on 30 shots. Nikolai Khabibulin came in and stopped all 13 shots he faced.
Huet hadn't allowed more than one goal in any of his previous five starts -- all wins -- but gave up six goals in a game for the second time this year. He is 2-4-0 with a tie and 2.67 goals against average in his career against the Flames.
Khabibulin, meanwhile, took the loss in Detroit on Tuesday for his first losing decision since November 14. He had posted seven straight wins without a loss until then and is 20-5-0 with a pair of ties and 2.06 GAA versus Calgary.
On Saturday, it was announced that Chicago forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, as well as defenseman Brian Campbell were all voted in as starters for January's All-Star game in Montreal.
Despite being in first place in the Northwest Division and currently riding a five-game winning streak, the Flames do not have an All-Star starter named yesterday. Instead, they extended their winning streak with a 3-2 win over Nashville on Saturday.
Just minutes after setting up Daymond Langkow's game-tying goal late in the third, Todd Bertuzzi netted the game-winner with just 23.4 seconds left. Curtis Glencross also scored in the win, while Craig Conroy notched an assist for his 500th NHL point.
Miikka Kiprusoff kept it close throughout with 24 saves to get the win, which moved the Flames four points ahead of second-place Vancouver in the standings.
Calgary has notched a point in 10 straight games (7-0-3) and will try tonight to match its season-best six-game win streak set on October 21-November 1.
The Flames are 10-7-1 on the road this year and have won three straight and seven of their last nine as the visiting team.
Calgary has lost both of its games against Chicago so far this year, getting outscored 9-3 in that span. The Flames have won four of their last six in the Windy City.
01/04 10:35:12 ET