NHL Game Preview: Calgary Flames at Chicago Blackhawks
It’s safe to say that the Calgary Flames have had no luck against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. The Flames are 0-10-1 in their last 11 meetings with the Blackhawks on Madison Street, and you can bet that they’d like to pounce on the seemingly vulnerable Blackhawks and snap that winless record on Tuesday.
Both teams need to avoid losing streaks with a win. The Blackhawks have only had a two-game losing streak prior to this game, once after their historic streak was broken and now with their losses to the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. They came roaring back after the last pair of losses, and recent history could repeat itself tonight. For the Flames, their last nine road games have resulted in a 0-8-1 record. A loss to the Blackhawks will make it the worst losing streak in franchise history.
While the Blackhawks are smarting from Monday’s loss, they’re hurting more without Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp. As it was shown against the Kings, the Blackhawks’ power play suffered without their presence. Michael Frolik did have two goals in Hossa’s place on the top line, so he could remain there on Tuesday.
In the goaltending department, Ray Emery will definitely be a factor in this game. At their last meeting in February, he saved his team’s collective behind with 45 saves in their 3-2 shootout win. Without him, the Blackhawks would’ve suffered their first loss that night, and the score would’ve likely been worse.
Meanwhile, the Flames will likely rely on Miikka Kiprusoff. It might not be a wise choice. Although Kiprusoff earned a win Sunday against the St. Louis Blues, it’s nothing against the .454 save percentage he has in all 11 starts against the Blackhawks.
Things could be a bit awkward for Jarome Iginla. He’s named the Blackhawks as one of four teams to whom he’d prefer to be traded, along with the Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins. The trade deadline is April 3, so this game will not only be something to win for the Flames, but it will be a way for Iginla to see where he might possibly fit on the Blackhawks.
This game is important to both teams. Each is starving for a big win and will be driven by desperation. Whoever can keep theirs in check will surely win.