Blackhawks Host Blue Jackets; Look to Extend Points Streak to 21 Games
Matthew Miller on Fri, 2013-03-01 12:20
CHI vs CBJ
The streaking Chicago Blackhawks (17-0-3) square off against the eternally mismanaged Columbus Blue Jackets (5-12-3) for the second time in six days tonight in Chicago's United Center, and one would expect the Madhouse on Madison to be rocking after the Red, White, and Black's decisive 3-0 road victory over division rival St. Louis last night.
Captain Jonathan Toews led off the scoring in last night's affair just twelve seconds into the game and added another tally early in the third for his first points since he posted a goal and an assist on February 17th against the LA Kings.
With Chicago continuing to fire on all cylinders more than 40% into this shortened season it's difficult to imagine them struggling against a Columbus team that has managed just five wins through their first twenty contests. However, struggle is just what they did the last time these two teams faced each other, with the Hawks squeaking out a 1-0 win on the strength of starting netminder Corey Crawford's second shutout of the year.
The Blackhawks will be without Crawford tonight, however, as he left last night's game after the first period with the ever-mysterious "upper body injury" diagnosis. "Back-up" goaltender Ray Emery stepped in admirably for the ailing keeper (as he has done all season long), recording 15 saves over the final two frames to preserve Crawford's ninth win of the season and the team's third shutout.
Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said in last night's postgame press conference that Crawford would be day-to-day with an upper body injury. When pressed for more information, all that could be gleamed was that the injury appeared to be unrelated to Corey's previous upper body injury that kept him sidelined for two weeks.
With the stalwart Emery between the pipes tonight and the rest of the team clicking in every conceivable way, it seems entirely likely that Chicago will continue their record-breaking start to the season.
Chicago will likely be without the services of goaltender Corey Crawford (Upper Body, Day-to-Day) and center Dave Bolland (Upper Body, Day-to-Day). Defenseman Steve Montador (Upper body, No Return Date Set) remains out but is skating with the team.
The Columbus Blue Jackets list assistant captains Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson on injured reserve, as well as defenseman James Wisniewski.
Blackhawks record: 17-0-3
Blue Jackets record: 5-12-3
Time: 7:30pm CST
Location: United Center
Where to watch: NHLN-US, CSN-CH, FS-O
Where to listen: WGN 720
Next 2 games: Sunday 3/3 @ DET, Tuesday 3/5 vs MIN