Good morning, Chicago Blackhawks fans, and welcome to another edition of your Blackhawk Up morning links
The Chicago Blackhawks’ final Circus Trip continues tonight with a rush through Canada. Tonight’s tilt against the Calgary Flames will mark the second of four consecutive showdowns against teams from the Great White North.
Things didn’t get off to the greatest start Tuesday, as the Winnipeg Jets used three third-period goals to topple the Blackhawks 4-0. That ended an 11-game point streak for Chicago and started a seven-game road swing on a negative note.
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There are two great chances for the Blackhawks to get healthy again this weekend, as Calgary and Vancouver are both mired in poor play and luck. Both teams are near the bottom of the league in points earned thus far.
Somehow, tonight’s game will mark the third time already this season Chicago and Calgary have met. The Flames won the first meeting 3-2 in a shootout, while the Blackhawks stormed to a 5-1 victory in the second bout.
Calgary has one big question heading in
The biggest problem facing the Flames at this point has to be the injury to Johnny Gaudreau. The star youngster suffered a broken finger and had surgery yesterday. He’s expected to miss approximately six weeks.
While that may seem strange considering what hockey players always compete through, the Flames need to make sure their cornerstone player is healthy for the future. They gain nothing by rushing him back in the midst of what’s likely a dead season.
That only benefits the Blackhawks, who will avoid seeing one of the game’s more skilled playmakers as a result. They can probably thank the Minnesota Wild for this, oddly enough. Take a look at Gaudreau’s hands getting all beat up earlier this week when the Flames and Wild met.
Funny music choice aside, it’s not surprising Gaudreau needed surgery. It’s more surprising he didn’t need additional surgeries, frankly.
But that’s not the Blackhawks’ problem. This team is looking to rack up points against weaker competition in Calgary and Vancouver, as well as a now-struggling Edmonton outfit, before heading to an always-tough California string (though the Kings are having plenty of issues right now).