Blackhawks vs Ducks: battle of two Western big boys

Tonight in California, the Blackhawks (30-16-2) play the Anaheim Ducks (32-11-6). The season series between these two stands at 1-1, and the last time that these two played, the Ducks were limping through injuries, and Chicago beat them 4-1 on the Circus Trip.

The Ducks are licking their wounds after losing 6-3 to the San Jose Sharks last night after what has been a solid 8-2-0 run. The Blackhawks are coming off their 4-3 loss to the Kings on Wednesday night. Both teams will be looking for a better performance tonight, so it will probably be physical, high-pace game.

Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf was an alternative captain for Jonathan Toews' All-Star team, but they're back on opposite sides of the ice now. With 50 points in 48 games, he's in the discussion for the Hart and scoring titles, putting him in competition with Patrick Kane, who has 53 points in 38 games.

The Ducks are aware that although the Blackhawks haven't played their best hockey in January, that they're still a dangeous team. Tonight is their third game in four nights, and spoke this morning about digging down for a strong mental game versus Chicago. The Ducks have lost two games in a row just once this season - their November game against the Blackhawks, followed the next night by a loss to the Sharks. They are not interested in creating a reverse repeat of that weekend.

Frederik Andersen (27-6-5, 2.22 GAA, .919 sv%) is expected to start for the Ducks; prior to last night, he was perfect in January games. Corey Crawford will be in net for the Blackhawks. Crawford has gone 8-4-1, 1.95 GAA, and .924 sv% versus the Ducks in his career.


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On Thursday, the Blackhawks announced they had traded prospect Adam Clendening, a second-round 2011 Draft pick, for defenseman Gustav Forsling from the Vancouver Canucks. Forsling currently plays for Linkoping in the Swedish Hockey League. Clendening was immediately recalled to the Canucks after the trade.