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Blackhawks vs. Flames game preview: Rested Chicago faces Calgary on back-to-back

The Blackhawks are back on the ice Wednesday as Calgary visits the United Center.

Derek Leung

The Chicago Blackhawks take the ice Wednesday night after a few days off with the Calgary Flames visiting the United Center. It's a situation that mostly favors the home team, not just because the Flames project as one of the weaker clubs from the Western Conference this season.

Calgary is playing in the second game of a back-to-back on Wednesday after a 3-2 shootout victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. The Flames will likely be a bit tired facing a rested Blackhawks team the very next night after a hard-fought win that required more than 65 minutes of action.

That's the good news for Chicago, which looks to improve its record to 3-0-0 with a win on Wednesday. The team will again be without Michal Rozsival and Kris Versteeg, but the former is expected to be back this weekend and it sounds like the latter is making steady progress.

The game on Wednesday also signals the return of former Hawks forward Brandon Bollig, who was traded to the Flames over the summer for a third-round pick. Bollig should be in the lineup for Calgary, and it'll be interesting to see how he's received by the United Center crowd.

The Blackhawks will be rolling with the same starting lineup as usual, so it's Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook taking the ice for the first puck drop. Corey Crawford will again be in goal as he seeks to continue a strong start to the 2014-15 season.

Opponent Breakdown: Calgary Flames

The Flames are 2-2-0 after the win over Nashville on Tuesday, which came with backup goaltender Karri Ramo in between the pipes. Ramo has played quite well in his first two starts of the year, both victories, and it's possible he nabs the job from Jonas Hiller if the starter can't get things together.

The team doesn't boast a strong offense, but has produced a decent performance and scored enough to stay competitive thus far. Defenseman Mark Giordano leads the team with five points (1G, 4A), while Mason Raymond is the team's leading goal scorer with three. Bollig, by the way, has one assist in four games.

If there's one place where the Flames have especially struggled thus far, it's the penalty kill. Calgary currently kills just 61.5 percent of its penalties, good for 28th in the NHL, and that could be an area where the Blackhawks put the game away Wednesday.


The Blackhawks will again be without Versteeg (lower body) and Rozsival (upper body), as we mentioned above. The latter should be back soon, and Joel Quenneville said Wednesday the team would likely keep eight defensemen once he's ready.

The Flames, meanwhile, will be without young center Sam Bennett (shoulder), and wingers Lance Bouma (upper body) and David Jones (lower body) could miss the game as well. Bouma will reportedly be re-evaluated Wednesday afternoon before his status vs. Chicago is determined.

Game Information

When: 7 p.m. CT

Where: United Center

TV: CSN, Sportsnet (in Canada)

Radio: WGN 720-AM

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