Few teams have got off to as hot of start as the Chicago Blackhawks and the team will look to avoid cooling against the Calgary Flames Saturday.
The Flames will do their best in giving Chicago a chilly welcome, too.
Playing on the tail end of a back-to-back set and skating in their third game in four nights, the Blackhawks – whose only blemish heading into Friday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks is a shootout loss in Minnesota Wednesday – will look to dig deep against a Flames team that suffered a setback to the visiting Colorado Avalanche Thursday under identical conditions.
Looking to set themselves up for a three-game road trip of their own, Calgary will try to push the pace early against Chicago and gather some momentum against one of the West’s best.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Forced out of the playoffs with a season-ending concussion last year, Hossa has returned to Chicago healthy and rejuvenated this year. His five goals and nine points in just seven games are evidence that the all-star has returned to form. Playing on a line with Jonathan Toews, there is nothing to suggest the former 100-point man will slow down anytime soon.
Thought to be a question mark coming into the season after an average year that saw him record a 2.72 goals against average and .903 save percentage, Crawford has silenced critics early with five wins in his first six starts. His 1.79 goals against average and .931 save percentage this season are among the league’s elite for starting netminders as Crawford strives to be a top goaltender in the NHL.
One of the league’s leading scorers through the opening two weeks of the season, Kane brought his scoring prowess back to the NHL after spending the work stoppage playing in Switzerland. The former first overall pick who routinely dazzles in the shootout has been a consistent threat to score or dish off an incredible pass in his young career, and 2013 has proved to be no different.
BY THE NUMBERS
Record This Season: 6-0-1 (Pending Vancouver outcome)
Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 2-2-0
Calgary’s Record All-Time: 61-61-26-4
Record Last Season: 45-26-11 (6th in Western Conference)
Who’s In: Sheldon Brookbank
Who’s Out: Sami Lepisto
Top Scorers vs. Flames: Marian Hossa – 3G 2A 5P
Flames Top Scorers: Olli Jokinen – 3G 3A 6P
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