Blackhawks welcome Lightning for Veterans' Day game

On Tuesday night, Chicago (8-6-1) will host the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning (11-3-1) for Veterans' Day. The Blackhawks will wear camouflage jerseys during warmups, which will be auctioned after the game.

The game will also mark Jonathan Toews' 500th NHL game since his debut on October 10, 2007. Toews is off to a better offensive start than previous seasons and hopes to continue that streak. Toews is currently leading his team with points with 13 (6G/7A).

Both teams enjoy a speedier, more open-ice style, which usually makes for a fast-paced, entertaining game between them. Then there's the high-scoring wingers: Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos has collected 14 points (9G/5A) in just seven career games versus Chicago. Stamkos has bounced back well from a broken leg sustained last season; he already has 16 points (10G/6A) in 15 GP. Chicago's puck maestro Patrick Kane's production isn't perhaps where he'd like it to be - 10 points in 15 games (4G/6A) but he's become a more defensively-responsible player, and is leading the team in takeaways.

Some bad news if you're a Blackhawks fan: the Bolts are rolling into Chicago riding a six-game winning streak, with their goals-for average is 3.8/game (2nd best in league) while allowing only 2.67/GAA. The Blackhawks haven't beaten them - home or away - since December 13, 2009, and has been struggling to string more than two wins in a row together so far this season.

But here's some good news to cheer you up about those statistics: not only is the Lightning currently performing above the mean (while Chicago is below it), but the Blackhawks are far stingier in goal (1.87 GA/game, 1st in league) while outshooting opponents by 37%. Chicago's 57.20% 5v5 Corsi leads the league while Tampa Bay's 53.47 is not far behind. The Blackhawks could particularly look to take advantage of the Lightning is on the power play, where Tampa Bay has been struggling on the road at just 68% PK. Tampa

Chicago has also been playing more of the gritty style of hockey that coach Joel Quenneville looks for: players firmly planting themselves in front of the opposing net, and earning the dirty goals.

The matchup in goal is expected to be Corey Crawford (5-3-1, 1.75 GAA, .932 sv%) vs. Ben Bishop (9-1-1, 2.44 GAA, .910 sv%). These two goalies have a long familiarity with one another, having played against one another for a few seasons in the AHL before both made the leap to the NHL. Bishop has yet to allow more than 3 goals in any of the 11 games he's played this season - and neither has Crawford. Historically, Crawford is 0-1-2 with 1.90 GAA versus the Lightning.

Game time: 7:30pm CDT
Where to watch: CSN-Chicago, SUN TV (Florida); Radio: WGN Chicago, AM 970 WFLA

 

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