Flames vs. Blackhawks Preview
CHICAGO, IL (AP) - During last season's run to the Stanley Cup title, the Chicago Blackhawks suffered eight regulation losses at the United Center during the regular season. They've already matched that total in 2010-11.
While attempting to rebound from its latest home defeat, Chicago will also try to avenge its most lopsided loss of the season Sunday night against the Calgary Flames.
The Blackhawks were 29-8-4 on their own ice in 2009-10 en route to claiming their first NHL championship in 49 years. This season, they've dropped eight of their 14 games at the United Center.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGlobal.com have made the Blackhawks –175 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Flames. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 94% of more than 63 bets for this game have been placed on the Blackhawks -194.
The over-under is set at 5.5. Calgary is currently 12-13-1 on over-unders this season, while Chicago is 13-15 on over-unders.
After scoring 32 times during a 6-2-0 run overall, Chicago was shut out for the first time this season Friday night despite holding a 32-18 shot advantage in a 3-0 loss to visiting Vancouver.
"We had chances to keep ourselves in the game but we didn't convert," captain Jonathan Toews said. "We didn't seem like we had enough jump and energy to our game."
The defeat is part of a pattern of inconsistency from Blackhawks' scorers in recent games.
In four of its last eight games, Chicago (14-12-2) has scored two goals or fewer. In the other four, it's tallied four or more, including a pair of seven-goal efforts.
The Blackhawks began that stretch with a 5-0 win at Edmonton on Nov. 17 to open their annual "circus" road trip but were routed 7-2 two nights later in Calgary.
Blackhawks goaltender Marty Turco had the worst performance of his career in that loss by allowing all seven goals, including a hat trick to Flames captain Jarome Iginla that helped snap an 0-6-2 skid to Chicago.
Iginla enters this matchup having scored once in the past six games and might not get to face Turco again. With his veteran netminder having allowed 14 goals over three straight losses, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville could look back to Corey Crawford, who has won five consecutive starts.
Crawford has never faced the Flames (11-13-2) and might need to work extra hard against them.
Calgary has won two of its past three road games in shootouts, including Friday night's 3-2 victory in Minnesota. The win was the Flames' third in five games overall following a 2-8-2 slump and five consecutive defeats away from home.
"We've been snakebit. We've been playing better than probably our record shows," said forward Alex Tanguay, who is on a five-game point streak. "For us, it's trying to find ways to get into the win column."
Henrik Karlsson earned his second career victory while starting in place of Miikka Kiprusoff, who gave up a career high-tying seven goals in a loss to Vancouver on Wednesday night.
Kiprusoff also allowed every goal Oct. 12, 2009 during the Blackhawks' stunning rally from an early five-goal deficit for a 6-5 overtime victory.
That defeat is one of the Flames' seven straight in Chicago, including the 2009 playoffs, and they have been outscored 32-14 over that span.
Kiprusoff has a 4.46 goals-against average in his last nine regular-season meetings with the Blackhawks. That could cause Calgary coach Brent Sutter to give Karlsson another start.
The rookie has a 1.76 GAA in three appearances since Oct. 29.