Any good NHL fan will tell you that there is no such thing as a “statement” game in the month of January. However, the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks are going to take the ice on Friday in what you can definitely call a heavyweight bout. Even though both clubs stand near or at the top of the Western Conference, one hockey team is absolutely red-hot, while the other is the reigning Stanley Cup Champion.
Believe it or not, the Blackhawks have dropped four of their last five games as Joel Quenneville‘s club is starting to hit it’s usual mid-season lull. Unfortunately for Chicago, it’s upcoming schedule is incredibly tough as the Blackhawks have had a hard time playing with a target on their backs nearly every single night.
Meanwhile, the Ducks have rattled off eight straight wins and are fresh off a dismantling of the Vancouver Canucks. Anaheim isn’t too far removed from a championship itself, but the last eight or so years haven’t been kind to the Ducks — and especially come playoff time. With a win on Friday night, Ryan Getzlaf‘s bunch can show the hockey world that Anaheim’s number-one spot in the West is well earned. The NHL season might be taking a bit of break here soon, but the drama never has an off night.