Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks rematch with Flames tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks rematch with Flames tonight on CSN

The Blackhawks welcome the Calgary Flames back to town tonight, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins with Blackhawks Pregame Live at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final horn to get analysis and player reaction on Blackhawks Postgame Live.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Can the Blackhawks crack Brian Elliott?

Elliott was sensational for the Blues in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last year against the Blackhawks, posting a .929 save percentage and a shutout to help dethrone the defending champions in seven games. The 31-year-old netminder struggled to find that same success early with the Flames, allowing 14 goals in his first three starts and entered last Monday's contest in Chicago with the worst save percentage in the league. And yet Elliott turned in his best outing of the year against the Blackhawks, stopping 31 of 33 shots and all seven attempts in the shootout to give the Flames a 3-2 win. He's allowed only two or fewer goals in each of his last four starts, so expect Elliott to be on his A-game once again.

2. Stay out of the box.

In last Monday's shootout loss, the Blackhawks committed five penalties against the Flames, who made them pay by scoring a pair of goals on the man advantage. Though the Blackhawks' penalty kill unit is slowly showing signs of improvement over the last two games, Corey Crawford owns the league's best save percentage (.976) when at even strength and is coming off a 32-save shutout. He gives them a chance to win every night, and ill-advised penalties are momentum-killers when it ends up in the back of your net.

3. Will special teams continue positive stretch?

A timely penalty kill can also be a momentum-builder, however. Look no further than last Friday when it sparked a comeback win over the Devils by killing off a late penalty in the third period, which then led to a four-minute power play in which the Blackhawks cashed in on to force overtime. They've scored two goals on the power play in each of their last two contests after going 0-for-12 in their previous three and have killed off five straight penalties. Is it more of a blip or are the Blackhawks finally turning the corner? 

4. Containing Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

When Gaudreau and Monahan hit the ice, expect to see No. 19 in red out there a whole lot. These two rising stars formulate a dangerous offensive duo on the top line and can take a game over at any moment. Jonathan Toews' line was tasked with defending them in their first meeting, and expect more of the same this time around. 

5. Gustav Forsling expected to return.

Coach Joel Quenneville's bench was shortened during the last meeting against Calgary after Forsling left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury. The 20-year-old Swedish defenseman is expected to return to the lineup tonight, and should give the Blackhawks an extra boost in the transition game.

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Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center


Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals


Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: