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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