Justin Faulk
Hurricanes-Blackhawks Preview
Justin Faulk

Hurricanes-Blackhawks Preview

Published Dec. 26, 2015 11:08 p.m. ET

The Chicago Blackhawks' road play has left much to be desired. There have been no such problems at home, however.

They'll try to make it seven wins in the last eight games at the United Center on Sunday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Blackhawks return from the holiday break following a 4-0 loss at Dallas on Tuesday, as their three-game win streak was snapped in a less-than-stellar performance. Chicago was outshot 32-20 and superstar forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews combined for just one shot.

''They just grabbed the momentum and never let us get it back,'' said Toews, who was has held without a shot for the third time in five games. ''I think we didn't do what we had to do to take it back, either.''


The defeat dropped the Blackhawks to 6-8-3 on the road, but they'll be happy to get back to the United Center, where they are 14-4-1 and have outscored opponents 21-8 during a 6-1-0 run.

No player better exemplifies the team's discrepancy between home and road success than goaltender Corey Crawford. He is 12-4-1 with a 1.65 goals-against average and all five of his shutouts - tied for the league lead - in Chicago (20-12-4) compared to 6-5-1 with a 3.08 GAA on the road.

Crawford has been in net for each of the last seven home games, posting a .968 save percentage and three shutouts. He seems sure to start this game with four consecutive wins and a 1.72 GAA versus Carolina.

Kane has produced at a very high rate regardless of location, but has been practically unstoppable at home. The league's leading scorer with 50 points, Kane has at least one in 18 of 19 contests at the United Center, tallying 12 goals and 18 assists.

The Hurricanes (14-16-5) have done a good job keeping Kane in check, limiting him to two points in six career meetings. Toews, though, has three goals and two assists in the past three matchups.

Carolina came out of the break Saturday with a 3-1 victory over visiting New Jersey, as Justin Faulk snapped a third-period tie and assisted on Joakim Nordstrom's insurance goal.

Brett Pesce also scored and Cam Ward stopped 19 shots for the Hurricanes, who improved to 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.

"It's a little bit of a battle coming off the break, but I thought for the most part our guys did a lot of good things," Carolina coach Bill Peters told the team's official website.

Faulk scored his first even-strength goal after his first 12 came on the power play.

''That's the running joke right now, that I can score - finally - even strength,'' said Faulk, who leads the NHL in power-play goals.

Carolina is 3-0-1 in its last four road games, and has a chance to record points in five straight away from home for the first time since Feb. 4-12, 2013.

Ward made a season-high 37 saves in a 2-1 win at Pittsburgh on Dec. 19 in his only start on consecutive days. Backup Eddie Lack is 2-0-1 with a 2.96 GAA in three starts this month - all on the road.

The Blackhawks could get forward Marian Hossa back after he missed the final two games prior to the break with an upper-body injury.

Carolina has dropped four straight in Chicago since Ward bested Crawford in a 4-0 victory March 12, 2008.


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