Game Time: 2:00 PM Central
TV/Radio: WGN for both
Dancing With the Devil: Matchsticks and Gasoline
Well we finally started to see some consistency from the Blackhawks in the last two games. While the Jersey game wasn't perfect, they still worked hard enough to take two points. Now with just one more point - the Blackhawks can clinch the central division for the first time since 1993.
As Sam mentioned in the podcast, we always think the Flames will come out gunning for the Hawks and that every game will be a herculean task... but only the first game of this year really seemed to turn out that way. This game isn't too much different though. We should be worried because the Flames are basically playing game 7 from here on out. After a loss to Boston, they've stormed back and taken two points from the Capitals and Coyotes before gutting out two more in a do or die game against the Avalanche on Friday. They're still on the outside looking in though. The Flames and Lanche are tied up with 89 points but Colorado has a game in hand. The schedule isn't too kind to the Flames. After today they'll have to play the Sharks and Canucks with a cupcake game against the Wild in the middle. The Lanche don't have it much easier though.. every game is against teams either already in or likely to make the playoffs except for the Oilers. So even if the Flames can win out, they still might not make it.
And if all that wasn't motivation for the Flames - they're also working to avoid the season sweep by our Blackhawks. The Hawks have outscored the Flames 16-7 this year and haven't allowed more than a single goal in the last two meetings between the two teams. Although Patrick Kane might be in a bit of a slump at the moment, playing the Flames could be exactly what he needs. Kane is just over a point per game player against Calgary - he has 6 points in the three games this year.
Antti NIemi is once again in the net for the Hawks tonight and I haven't heard who is scratched yet but I'm sure you'll update us in the comments. One point is all that's needed to win the division but anything less than two might lessen the accomplishment.. so lets just wrap this thing up in 60 minutes, shall we?
Lets Go Hawks