Ottawa tasked with stopping red-hot Chicago

Ottawa tasked with stopping red-hot Chicago

At 22-8-4, Chicago owns the best record in the NHL. But can an up-and-coming Ottawa bunch upend the perennial Stanley Cup contender tonight?

The two clubs meet in the Windy City at 8:30 p.m. ET. Online sports book gives the Blackhawks odds of -165 to emerge victorious. Guy Boucher’s troops, on the other hand, represent +145 underdogs.

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Despite the prolonged absence of No. 1 goaltender Corey Crawford (appendectomy), Chicago continues to put more distance between itself and the rest of the Central Division pack. On Sunday, Joel Quenneville’s group downed San Jose 4-1. Scott Darling made 33 saves to improve to 5-3-1 since taking over for Crawford on Dec. 3.

The Senators (18-11-3) also find themselves at less than full strength in net, with Andrew Hammond having suffered a lower-body injury during the first period of a weekend win over the Islanders. This evening, Mike Condon is expected to be in the crease. He’ll hope to benefit from further Zack Smith heroics. The Alberta native has five points in his past two contests.

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If the Sens are lucky, they won’t have to worry about facing Artem Anisimov (upper body) shortly. Yet the Blackhawks possess a seemingly endless array of top-flight forwards. With Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews doing nothing but getting hotter, we’re skeptical of Condon’s ability to keep matters close.




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