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Game 50 Preview And Open Thread: Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

Puck Drop: Jan. 24, 7:30 PM CST


Chicago Blackhawks
Record: 23-22-4
Points: 50
Place: 5th in Central, 13th in Western Conference
Power Play Percentage/Rank: 16.6%, 22nd in NHL
Penalty Kill Percentage/Rank: 81%, 19th in NHL
Blackhawks Team Statistics

vs.


Columbus Blue Jackets
Record: 24-20-6
Points: 54
Place: t-2nd in Central, t-9th in Western Conference
Power Play Percentage/Rank: 16.6%, 21st in NHL
Penalty Kill Percentage/Rank: 86.5%, 2nd in NHL
Blue Jackets Team Statistics

Hawks Lineup:

Offense
1st line: LW Kane - C Lang - RW Havlat
2nd line: LW Bourque - C Sharp - RW Skille
3rd line: LW Ruutu - C Dowell - RW Adams
4th line: LW Eager - C Burish - RW Byfuglien

Defense

1st pairing: Keith/Seabrook
2nd pairing: Hendry/Sopel
3rd pairing: Barker/Wisniewski

Goalie

Khabibulin

Scratches: Zyuzin (healthy), Koci (healthy), Perreault (healthy)
Injured Reserve: Adam, Toews, Lapointe, Williams, Versteeg, Bolland

So, Ben Eager has come off injured reserve and will be playing tonight, with Martin Lapointe going on IR, I would assume because of the kidney problem he has been battling lately. Hopefully Eager can be a physical presence and maybe even drop the gloves in tonight's divisional tilt.

The Hawks are coming off a tough 3-2 loss in San Jose, in which I thought they played a pretty solid game but just didn't play well on special teams and couldn't bury some great chances on goaltender Evengi Nabokov. I think the SCH Hawks Player Of The Game award would have to go to Adam Burish, simply for FINALLY putting home a puck, his first NHL goal in his 58th career game.

I think it would be a big boost for this team if they can finish off the Pre-All Star portion of their schedule with a win against a divisional foe. Nikolai Khabibulin is in goal tonight, and I think there will be a lot of pressure on him to perform well, if he wants his starting job back, because Patrick Lalime has been excellent lately. We shall see how he responds.