After suffering two straight road losses, the Chicago Blackhawks return to the United Center on Sunday night to take on Erik Karlsson and the Ottawa Senators. This the first of two games against the Sens in the Blackhawks' next five games.
The key to this game for Blackhawks is getting their offense back on track. The losses to Nashville and St. Louis were both by one goal, and the Blackhawks missed on some key chances in both of those games. Getting on the board early and often will be very important for the Blackhawks, who still have yet to score in a second period this season.
Lemont, Ill., native Scott Darling is expected to the start in goal for the Blackhawks tonight. It will be the 25-year-old's NHL debut. He started the season in Rockford, where he was 2-0-0 with a 1.44 goals-against average and .948 save percentage before being called up on Oct. 21. Hopefully he will be able to perform just as well tonight.
This should be a fast-paced game that sees the puck on the 'Hawks tape a lot. Hopefully they will be able to get their offense back on track in support of the rookie net-minder.
Opponent Breakdown: Ottawa Senators
The Senators are 4-1-1 to this point in the season, largely thanks to their defense. They have allowed just 13 goals in six contests this season, in spite of having a CF% of just 47.49. Goalies Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner have each played three of their six games, and have posted save percentages of .939 and .936, respectively.
Being so defensively sound thus far this year means they could present a big challenge for the Blackhawks tonight, but if the 'Hawks are able to dominate possession the way they have to open the season, a bad possession team like Ottawa could present an opportunity to get a lot of shots on net. Hopefully some of them wind up behind the Ottawa netminder, whoever it is.
The Blackhawks are still missing starting goalie Corey Crawford, who is out with an upper-body injury. Daniel Carcillo is expected to be out with a lower-body injury suffered after a nasty hit from T.J. Oshie last night in St. Louis. Kris Versteeg returned to last night's game following a slash from Steve Ott, but tonight should be a better sign of his current status.
Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot is currently dealing with a back injury, and was not expected to travel on the Senators' current road trip. Expect him to be out tonight.
|Scott Darling||G||Craig Anderson|
|ALSO SEE: SILVER SEVEN, SBN'S Senators BLOG|
When: 6 p.m. CT
Where: United Center
TV: WGN, NHL Network
(Statistics via Natural Stat Trick)