NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, April 4th
(All times eastern)
Calgary Flames (40-29-9) at Chicago Blackhawks (48-22-7), 3 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Calgary Flames will try to help their playoff chances
when they shoot for a fourth straight win in today's road test at the United
Center in Chicago.
The Flames enter Sunday tied with Colorado for the eighth and final postseason
berth in the Western Conference. The Avalanche, who host San Jose tonight,
have a game in hand over Calgary with five contests left in the regular
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks, who have already clinched a playoff spot, can win
the Central Division by getting just one point against Calgary. Chicago could
also clinch the division if Detroit suffers any kind of loss today in
Chicago is also just three points behind San Jose for the top seed in the
West. The Blackhawks have a game in hand over the Sharks, who are playing in
The Blackhawks have won all three meetings with the Flames this year and have
taken seven straight in the series, not including Chicago's triumph over
Calgary in the opening round of last spring's playoffs. The Flames have lost
three in a row and six of their last 10 regular-season tests in the Windy
The Flames won their third game in a row on Friday, edging the Avalanche in a
crucial battle at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Miikka Kiprusoff made 35 saves
and Rene Bourque provided the game-winner early in the third period, lifting
Calgary to the 2-1 victory and allowing the Flames to tie Colorado in the
Still, Calgary has only four games remaining, while the Avalanche have a game
in hand and currently hold all three tie-breaking scenarios, including wins
(41-40), head-to-head points and goal differential. Despite Friday's
disappointing setback, Colorado still took four of six from Calgary in the
Nigel Dawes also tallied for the Flames on Friday, giving him four goals in
his last eight games.
Calgary is 20-13-6 as the guest this year and is playing its second-to-last
road game of the regular season. The Flames will host San Jose and Minnesota
in its next two games before capping their schedule Saturday in Vancouver.
Chicago is coming off a close win Friday in New Jersey. Jonathan Toews scored
the lone goal of the shootout as the Blackhawks rallied to take a 2-1 win over
After Antti Niemi stopped Jamie Langenbrunner to open the shootout, Toews
buried a wrister into the right corner of the net. Niemi then made stops on
Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk for the win.
Kris Versteeg scored with 26 seconds to play in the third period to force
overtime. Niemi stopped 32 shots to help Chicago earn its second straight win
on the heels of a three-game skid.
"This was a good win and hopefully we can take the momentum from this and
follow it up the next game," said Toews. "It wasn't the most exciting game
I've ever played, but it was a big character win."
Chicago has five games left and will alternate home and away tests for the
remainder of the regular season. The Blackhawks own an impressive 27-8-3 as
the host this year.
04/04 10:45:39 ET