NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 19th (All times eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (34-11-4) at Ottawa Senators (25-21-4), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks will try to avoid their first loss to the Ottawa Senators in over six years this evening when the two teams meet at Scotiabank Place.
Chicago continues an eight-game road trip, its longest of the season, after opening the swing with one-goal victories over Columbus and Detroit. One day after a 6-5 victory over the Blue Jackets on Saturday, the Blackhawks notched a 4-3 shootout win over the Red Wings in a nationally televised afternoon game.
Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp all scored in the shootout and Antti Niemi made 35 saves in the win, the Blackhawks' seventh in their last nine games overall and sixth in their last eight on the road. Sharp, Troy Brouwer and Patrick Kane had the goals in regulation.
"These games are a ton of fun to play, especially on national television," Kane admitted. "You want to show the world how good the game is."
The Blackhawks are tied for the NHL lead with 72 points, which also gives them an 11-point edge over the second-place Predators in the Central Division.
Hossa spent last season with the Red Wings, helping them reach the Stanley Cup Finals, but then joined the Blackhawks in the offseason with a monster 12-year deal. He was booed in his second game at Detroit this season and faces another former team tonight in Ottawa.
The winger spent the first seven years of his career with the Senators before joining the Thrashers prior to the 2005-06 season in a trade that sent Dany Heatley to Ottawa. Hossa has faced the Sens 12 times since the deal and has three goals and 15 assists against them.
Hossa scored twice and had an assist for the Senators the last time they beat the Blackhawks, a 6-1 home triumph on December 18, 2003. Chicago has won three straight meetings since and has taken three of the last four played in Ottawa.
Ottawa will get another chance to end a losing streak to one club, as it halted an 11-game slide to Boston on Monday afternoon with a 5-1 victory over the Bruins. Playing in just his second game after missing 11 straight with a shoulder injury, Daniel Alfredsson notched a natural hat trick for his first multi-goal game since November 21.
Alfredsson, who earned his first hat trick since January 24, 2008, helped Ottawa move into a tie with Boston for second place in the Northeast Division and fifth place overall in the East. The winger had a goal and two assists in his first game back from injury on Saturday.
"I don't think anything he does can surprise you anymore. It is amazing how many points he has put up so far," said Senators head coach Cory Clouston of Alfredsson. "He is a huge leader off and on the ice, by example. It helps our team get to the next level."
Alex Kovalev and Jonathan Cheechoo also scored for the Senators, who won their third straight game after a five-game skid. Filip Kuba returned from a four- game absence due to an upper-body injury to notch two assists, Mike Fisher had three helpers and Brian Elliott made 22 saves in the win.
01/19 10:47:32 ET