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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, January 16th (All times eastern)

New York Rangers (26-15-4) at Chicago Blackhawks (24-10-7), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks will try to wrap up a three-game homestand perfect tonight, as they close out the stand with a visit from the New York Rangers in an Original Six matchup at the United Center.

Chicago dropped two straight on the road before returning home to face Nashville last Sunday. The Blackhawks posted a 3-1 win in that game and then downed Buffalo, 4-1, three days later.

Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist, while Patrick Sharp, Martin Havlat and James Wisniewski also scored in Wednesday's win. Kris Versteeg added two assists and Cristobal Huet made 22 saves in helping the Blackhawks win for the eight time in their last nine games at home.

Chicago trails the first-place Detroit Red Wings by 13 points in the Central Division and is 14-2-4 at the United Center this year.

Though Huet is 7-2-0 over his last nine starts with a 1.61 goals against average, the Blackhawks have resumed rotating goaltenders this month, meaning Nikolai Khabibulin is likely to start tonight. Khabibulin is 9-9-0 with a tie and 2.25 GAA in his career versus the Rangers and 2-1-0 with a 1.54 GAA in four January outings, three of those starts.

Huet is 2-4-1 with a 3.23 GAA in his career against New York.

Defenseman Duncan Keith is questionable for tonight's game after suffering a shoulder/head injury versus the Sabres.

The Rangers have earned a point in each game so far on its five-game road trip. After a shootout loss to Buffalo back on January 9, New York blanked Ottawa, 2-0, the following day before a 2-1 victory over the Islanders on Tuesday.

Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves and the Rangers used a power-play goal by Nigel Dawes to skate past the crosstown rival Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. Chris Drury scored for the third time in five games for the Rangers, who are 12-7-2 on the road this year and wrap their longest road trip of the season in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

After a subpar December in which he posted a 3.74 GAA in 10 starts, Lundqvist has a 1.51 GAA in four outings this month. He has halted 112-of-118 shots faced in January while also posting his first two shutouts of the season.

Lundqvist is 2-0-1 with a 1.66 GAA in his career against Chicago.

New York's win on Tuesday moved them one point past Philadelphia for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Rangers have 56 points to the Flyers' 55, while the New Jersey Devils are also in the hunt with 54 points.

The Rangers have won two straight over the Blackhawks, including a 4-2 home win back on October 10. Chicago, though, is 3-2 with a tie in the last six meetings and 2-0 with a tie in the last three clashes in the Windy City.

01/16 10:54:12 ET

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