So I've recovered from my Flamingo injury (or whatever else you come up with) in time to get back here and get the preview today. Sorry about that everyone...
Tonight will open a nice short jaunt out west to play the usual California suspects only with the Coyotes thrown in to replace the Sharks just for good measure. First up for the Hawks are the Pacific cellar dwelling Anaheim Ducks. Although the Ducks are having a fairly miserable season this year, they've got the edge in the season series with the Hawks so far winning two of three times they've met.
Backstopping the Ducks tonight is likely to be an emerging Hawks killer - Jonas Hiller. Hiller is a wall when he plays against the Hawks, posting an unreal .942 SV% and a 1.42 GAA. The only team he's proven to be better against in multiple match ups is Nashville. However, Hiller seems to have left it all in Vancouver during the Olympics. Since returning from the break he's posted a record of 1-4-1. He did pick up his first win against San Jose on Sunday and a solid reason for his poor record is the overall crappiness of the Ducks. In two of his losses, the Ducks failed to light the lamp a single time.
As we've seen for the past two years now, the Ducks will be bringing the one line they do possess and hoping it's enough to win. The bad news, their scoring line is a more than a little banged up. Teemu Selanne injured his shoulder on Sunday and Ryan Getzlaf aggravated an injury he first hurt before the Olympics. They're both listing themselves as "likely" for tonight but they're likely not to be at 100%. Selanne does need only one more goal to reach 600 lifetime goals... however only about 104 have come from him actually doing any work, the rest have all just been annoying as fuck for opposing fans.
We'll of course be seeing how the Hawks look without Brian Campbell for the first time since he signed his monster contract and no one actually feels good about it. Kim Johnsson didn't skate yesterday and as of this writing I haven't seen anything about the likeilhood of him playing tonight. Panda did skate with the team yesterday so lets hope he re-joins the team. It'll be Antti Niemi in net tonight as Cristobal Huet has gone down with the flu.. so lets hope he gets some quality baguettes or whatever it is that the French do to combat illness. The Blackhawks are downright awful playing the Honda Center as well - I believe their record is something around 3-323-4.. but don't quote me on that.
And finally - Happy St. Patrick's Day. Remember that green beer is for amateurs.
UPDATE: Corey Crawford will be starting in net tonight. Lordy. Good thing everyone's going to be drinking anyway.