Blackhawks

Three Things to Watch: Corey Crawford returns to hometown as Blackhawks battle Canadiens

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Three Things to Watch: Corey Crawford returns to hometown as Blackhawks battle Canadiens

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Montreal Canadiens tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Corey Crawford vs. Carey Price.

There's a reason Crawford didn't start Monday night against Toronto.

For one, Montreal is his hometown and the Blackhawks get only one visit there per year. He deserves those starts when the opportunity presents itself. But, most importantly, his numbers against the team he grew up rooting for are remarkable.

In nine career games against the Canadiens, Crawford is 7-0-2 with a 1.55 goals against average and .951 save percentage, including one shutout.

On the other end of the ice will be Carey Price, who's the only goaltender to win the Hart Trophy for league MVP in the last 15 years. Expect a fun goaltending showdown.

2. The Mutt.

The Blackhawks will see a few familiar faces on the home bench, most notably Andrew Shaw, who helped bring two Stanley Cups to Chicago in 2013 and 2015.

Nicknamed "Mutt" for his scrappy style of play, Shaw has yet to record a point in three games for the Canadiens this season but his ice time has increased in each of them.

Last year Shaw registered a season-high six shots on goal in his first meeting against Chicago, an indication of how badly he'd like to stick it to his old friends. You know he'll be playing with some extra juice, especially with former teammates Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad back on the team.

3. Can Alex DeBrincat get on the board?

The Blackhawks have scored 18 goals in three games, but their top prospect hasn't gotten on the scoresheet yet other than an assist on Opening Night. He hasn't stood out, but he certainly hasn't shown any signs that he doesn't belong.

DeBrincat is a smart player who's doing all the right things, and just because those offensive numbers aren't there yet doesn't mean he's failing to live up to the hype early on. If anything, the flurry of goals from their top six has helped take away some of that early pressure while he gets accustomed to the big leagues.

He came close to scoring in the first two games, one of which rang off the pipe. The scoring chances will come, and he's more likely to bury them than not. Will it come tonight?

Chris Chelios joins Pearl Jam on stage at Wrigley Field to honor Stan Mikita

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AP

Chris Chelios joins Pearl Jam on stage at Wrigley Field to honor Stan Mikita

The city of Chicago lost a sports icon earlier this month when Stan Mikita died at the age of 78 after a long illness. He's the all-time leading scorer in Blackhawks history with 1,467 points, but perhaps more importantly made as much of an impact off the ice as he did on it.

Former Blackhawks defenseman and current team ambassador Chris Chelios joined Pearl Jam on stage at Wrigley Field on Monday night, holding up a red No. 21 Mikita sweater to pay tribute to a Chicago legend.

Lead vocalist Eddie Vedder even dedicated the song "Come Back" to Mikita and his family, with the help of thousands of fans who paid homage by holding up their cell phones:

A touching moment.

A sneak peek at Cam Ward's new Blackhawks goalie mask

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USA TODAY

A sneak peek at Cam Ward's new Blackhawks goalie mask

It's a new year, new team for Cam Ward, who spent his first 13 NHL seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes before signing in Chicago on a one-year deal this summer. That means a newly-designed goalie mask is required to match up with his new team's colors, uniform and Blackhawks logo.

The designer of Ward's goalie masks Steve Nash, whose clients include 2017-18 Vezina Trophy finalist Connor Hellebuyck, two-time Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Quick and three-time 30-win netminder Martin Jones, shared a teaser on Twitter of Ward's new Blackhawks-themed mask for the upcoming season and it's sweet.

Check it out: