Tonight, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks head into the PNC Arena in North Carolina to go head-to-head with the Carolina Hurricanes.
After blowing out the Washington Capitals in the season opener, the Blackhawks would drop two in a row; first in the 3-2 Shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the second 3-2 to the St. Louis Blues.
In back to back games this weekend, the Blackhawks fought back gaining two wins in a row; 3-2 over the New York Islanders and 2-1 over the winless Buffalo Sabres.
The Hawks will certainly want to continue this momentum over Carolina tonight.
However, I am sure that Carolina will have something to say about that.
The Hurricanes season is looking a little different than the defending champions. The Canes opened up the season with a 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. It has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs since then. Right now, they are 2-2-2 coming off of two consecutive losses; a 2-1 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings and a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes.
This is going to make Carolina hungry for a win, and certainly in need of the 2 points that come with it.
These two teams are fairly well matched when you take a look at the numbers.
The Blackhawks have a slight advantage in respect to Shots on Goal. The Hawks have an average of 33.8 while the Canes have 31.83. The Hawks also have a slight advantage in respect to goals against per game. The Hawks have 2.4 where the Canes have 2.83.
Blackhawks points leader Patrick Kane is currently tied with 14 other players, including Lightning centers Steven Stamkos and Valtteri Filppula, in the NHL with 4 goals so far this season. Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner is tied with 13 other players, including last year’s Art Ross Trophy winner Martin St. Louis for 7th place in the NHL in points.
It looks like the main difference in these two teams is going to sit squarely between the pipes.
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is currently 2-1-1 with a GAA of 2.45 and a Save Percentage of .910. Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward is currently 0-2-2 in his four appearances in front of the net. He has a GAA of 3.32 and a Save Percentage of .903.
Cam Ward allowed 3 goals on Sunday after taking over in net for goaltender Anton Khudobin when he sustained a lower body injury. With Khudobin on injured reserve, it would stand to reason that Ward will get the nod tonight.
I think tonight’s matchup is going to be a very high-speed game with both sides hungry for a win.
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Network: CSN-CH, FS-CR