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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 4th (All times eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (31-25-9) at Chicago Blackhawks (35-23-6), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Jonathan Toews and the sizzling Chicago Blackhawks will take aim at a seventh consecutive victory this evening, when they host the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center.

The Blackhawks have won a season-high six games in a row since their last loss against Columbus on Feb. 18. That setback versus the Blue Jackets stands as Chicago's only regulation loss in 11 contests (8-1-2).

The recent hot streak has helped Chicago improve its standing in the Western Conference playoff race. With 76 points, the defending Stanley Cup champions are currently locked in a three-way tie with Los Angeles and Phoenix for the West's fourth seed.

Jonathan Toews has played a big part in Chicago's surge and he is riding a seven-game point streak into tonight's tilt. Toews has six goals and seven assists during the run and Chicago's captain has also notched five goals over his last three outings.

All told, Toews, who was recently named the NHL's First Star for February, has registered a point in 13 of his last 15 trips to the ice and he is leading the Blackhawks in assists (38) and points (63) this season.

Toews scored twice to help the Blackhawks take a 6-4 win over the visiting Calgary Flames on Wednesday. Tonight, Chicago can post its first seven-game winning streak since it claimed eight straight victories from Nov. 9-25, 2009.

"We're not looking at it as a streak cause we've been playing good for a while now," said Toews. "We're not gonna look too far ahead. We'll use the momentum we've got and keep working hard out there."

Michael Frolik added a goal and two assists while Dave Bolland, Marian Hossa and Brian Campbell each had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford stopped 21 shots in the victory.

The Blackhawks, who are still nine points behind Detroit for the Central Division lead, have won three straight on home ice and are 20-14-0 in the Windy City this season.

Tonight, however, the Blackhawks will face a club they haven't had much success against in recent years. Carolina won the only encounter between the team in 2009-10 and has gone 8-1 with a tie in the last 10 matchups in this series. The Hurricanes have also won five times in their last seven trips to Chicago.

Carolina has won two straight and three of four overall and has moved into the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Hurricanes are just one point ahead of the New York Rangers for the East's eighth and final playoff seed.

The 'Canes extended their lead over Buffalo in the standings to three points with Thursday's overtime victory over the visiting Sabres. Jamie McBain scored the winner 26 seconds into OT as Carolina claimed a 3-2 victory at RBC Center.

In the extra session, McBain took a pass at the right point, took a stride down and blasted a shot past Ryan Miller for the win.

Jiri Tlusty and Chad LaRose each had a goal for the Hurricanes, while Cam Ward stopped 27 shots in the win.

"It was a playoff-type game out there tonight," said Ward. "It was fast-paced and was to be expected between two clubs fighting for points. We just have to focus on what we need to do and win hockey games."

Carolina has a 13-15-6 record as the guest this season and has lost six of its last seven road games.

03/04 10:40:50 ET


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