The Blackhawks head to Canada to take on the Flames for the first time this season on Tuesday at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Chicago (17-17-6) has won three straight road games for the first time this season after completing a third period comeback and winning 3-2 in a shootout against the Blue Jackets on Sunday at Nationwide Arena. It’s the second straight road game that Chicago has made a third period surge to comeback from a multi-goal deficit.
Robin Lehner was excellent, once again, with 31 saves on 33 shots, including eight high-danger saves, and he claimed his first shootout victory since Mar. 10, 2018. It was also Chicago’s first win this season when Patrick Kane didn’t record a point:
That's the first #Blackhawks win this season where Patrick Kane didn't score a point.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) December 30, 2019
They're now 1-8-2 when 88 doesn't record a goal or assist.
Although Kane didn’t record a point against the Blue Jackets, he still paces the Blackhawks with 47 points and has 14 points in his last 13 games. Jonathan Toews (28), Alex DeBrincat (27) and Dylan Strome (27) are the only other Blackhawks that have reached the 20-point plateau.
With Brandon Saad out for three weeks with a right ankle injury, Jeremy Colliton has tired to spark Chicago’s offense by promoting Kirby Dach to a line with Strome and DeBrincat. The trio has been impressive at 5-on-5 the last two games with a 58.7-percent Corsi For and contributed to three goals for, while allowing zero. The trio will look to keep the momentum rolling against the Flames.
Alex Nylander will be a healthy scratch after only playing 7:19 minutes against the Blue Jackets and not registering a point in four straight games. Dylan Sikura will re-join the lineup for the first time since Dec. 21:
Colliton on Nylander being scratched:— Jimmy Greenfield (@jcgreenx) December 31, 2019
"We just need more. He shows flashes of being the player we need him to be, just needs to have more offense. Give Sikura a chance to come in and respond — he's got more to give also, gives us a little energy and some depth to our lineup."
Lehner will start for the third straight game and fifth time in the last six games. He’s won five straight starts where he’s only allowed 11 goals to go along with a .927 save-percentage.
Interim head coach Geoff Ward had an excellent start to his tenure in Calgary (20-16-5) with wins in the first seven games after replacing Bill Peters. However, the Flames have hit a bit of a rough patch with losses in five of their last seven games where they’ve been pelted by 32 shots per game and have given up 22 goals.
Like Chicago, Calgary has had trouble limiting high danger scoring chances against (HDSCA). The Flames rank in the bottom 12 of the NHL with 597 HDSCA, but have been a bit lucky as opponents have only converted 8-percent of those chances. The league average for converting HDSC is at 8.8-percent, per Hockey-Reference.
On offense, the dynamic foursome of Elias Lindholm, Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Sean Monahan lead the charge for the Flames, but the rest of the team has struggled to put the puck in the net leading to a 2.60 goals per game mark that’s in the bottom six of the NHL. Even Mark Giordano, who won the Norris Trophy last season after a 74 point campaign, has had trouble producing and is on pace to finish with his lowest point total in six seasons.
David Rittich is slated to start for Calgary. The Czech netminder is 17-9-5 on the season and has a .914-save percentage and a 5.03 goals saved above average. Rittich struggled in his most recent start on Sunday against Vancouver allowing three goals on seven shots before being pulled for backup Cam Talbot.
It’s been a while since the Blackhawks picked up two points against Calgary with their last win coming on Nov. 18, 2016. A lot has changed since then, but Chicago has a tantalizing opportunity on Tuesday to inch closer to the wild card bubble and extend their road winning streak to four games before 2020 arrives.
Tale of the Tape
47.8% (25th) — Corsi For — 50.4% (11th)
49.9% (18th) — Faceoffs — 48.6% (25th)
2.80 (t-20th) — Goals per game — 2.60 (t-25th)
3.00 (21st) — Goals against per game — 2.76 (13th)
15.1% (26th) — Power play — 18.9% (16th)
82.1% (t-9th) — Penalty kill — 84.1% (4th)
Kubalik — Toews — Quenneville
DeBrincat — Dach— Strome
Sikura — Carpenter— Kane
Smith — Kampf— Highmore
Keith — Boqvist
Gustafsson — Murphy
Maatta — Gilbert
Tkachuk — Lindholm — Mangiapane
Bennett — Monahan — Backlund
Lucic — Ryan — Gaudreau
Rinaldo — Rieder — Frolik
Giordano — Andersson
Hanifin — Hamonic
Klyington — Stone
How to watch
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Live stream: NBC Sports app