Flames-Blackhawks Preview

The Chicago Blackhawks haven’t lost at home to the Calgary

Flames in over five years.

Continuing their recent scoring barrage against one of the worst

defensive teams in the NHL would likely keep it that way.

The Blackhawks look to run their staggering home win streak in

the series to 14 games when they host the Flames at United Center

on Sunday night.

Chicago (8-2-3) is 19-6-0 over its last 25 meetings with the

Flames (5-6-2), including the playoffs. The Blackhawks have been

particularly dominant at home, winning 13 straight while averaging

4.2 goals.

Calgary is allowing an average of 3.54 goals this season, a stat

that doesn’t bode well against a Blackhawks team riding a

three-game winning streak in which they’ve gotten 16 goals from 11

different players.

The reigning Stanley Cup champions showed off their offensive

depth Saturday when five players found the net in a 5-1 win at

Winnipeg.

“We like some production across the board,” coach Joel

Quenneville told the team’s official website, “and we’ve been

getting it the (past) three games, more representative of how we

were last year and the offense that we do have on our team.”

Patrick Kane has gone without a point in Chicago’s last two

games but has done plenty of damage against the Flames with 28

points in 27 games against them. He has 15 during the home win

streak, while captain Jonathan Toews has averaged a point in 15

career matchups in the Windy City.

Another offensive outburst would give Chicago its longest

winning streak since a seven-game run from April 6-19.

Corey Crawford has won all three of his home meetings with

Calgary behind a 2.34 goals-against average, but he may be rested

after making 26 saves Saturday.

That would mean turning to Nikolai Khabibulin, who is 0-6-1 with

a 4.19 GAA over his last seven against the Flames.

Calgary will try to snap its long slide in Chicago while opening

a four-game, six-day road trip.

The Flames have picked up no momentum of late, giving up two

goals in the first period of a 4-3 loss to Detroit on Friday that

was their sixth in eight games.

“It’s like you take a good punch on the nose, but, at the same

time you have to regroup,” coach Bob Hartley said.

Sean Monahan, drafted sixth overall in June, is looking to build

on his goal against the Red Wings after coming up empty in four

straight games. The center is the team’s unexpected leader with

seven goals, while Jiri Hudler has five and a club-high 10

assists.

Hudler, who had two assists Friday, has eight over his last 21

games against the Blackhawks but has failed to score a goal in that

span.

It’s unclear if Calgary will start goaltender Joey MacDonald,

who has lost three straight with a 3.42 GAA after making 18 saves

against Detroit. He’s 0-2-1 with a 2.64 GAA in three career

meetings with Chicago.

After this contest, the Blackhawks will be recognized by

President Barack Obama for their Cup title when they visit the

White House on Monday.