Watch as the Blackhawks take on the New York Rangers tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.
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Five Things to Watch:
1. Scott Darling vs. Antti Raanta, Part II?
In one of the best goaltending duels you'll see this season, the pair of former Blackhawks teammates put on an amazing show in Friday's game which ended in a 1-0 overtime victory for the New York Rangers. Raanta stopped all 26 shots he saw while Darling recorded a season-high 36 saves, prompting this cool exchange after the game acknowledging one another. Both goalies have been terrific lately, with Raanta earning the NHL's first star of the week honors by going 3-0-0 with a 0.33 goals against average, .984 save percentage and two shutouts. Darling has been great as well, allowing only one goal in regulation over the last three games. We might be in for another fun battle. Or, you know, since we're all expecting a low-scoring affair, it probably will be the exact opposite this time around.
2. Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews return.
Seabrook has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury, but will return tonight, giving the Blackhawks a significant boost in all areas on the blue line. The other somewhat shocker is that Toews, who was sidelined for nine games, has also been cleared to play from the back injury he had been dealing with. Considering the Blackhawks said they wouldn't rush him back, this is great news knowing he's back to being 100 percent healthy. He was centering the top line with Ryan Hartman and Marian Hossa in morning skate.
3. Duncan Keith climbing in Blackhawks' all-time points rankings.
After registering his 18th assist of the season in Sunday's 3-1 win over Dallas, Keith is now one point away from tying Pierre Pilote for fourth-most by a Blackhawks defenseman — and 20th in franchise history — with 477. It would be nice to see him reach that total with a goal, something he surprisingly hasn't done yet this season through 30 games.
4. Can Ryan Hartman make his presence felt again?
While the rookies have struggled to find the back of the net lately, Hartman made his presence felt in Sunday's win over Dallas by logging an assist and four shots on goal. He should have had two assists when he drove hard to the net straight from the penalty box and created a scoring chance, which was rebounded home by Artem Anisimov. That turned out to be the game-winning goal, and it started because of Hartman despite him not being rewarded on the scoresheet. If we're in for another 1-0 game, the goal will likely be a gritty one and that's right up Hartman's ally.
5. Is the power play back?
The Blackhawks' power play has been searching for consistency pretty much all season, going on spurts here and there along with lengthy droughts. In their previous nine games, the Blackhawks were 1-for-22 in that department, a .05 percent success rate. In the last three games, they're 2-for-7 (28.6 percent). But both of those goals came against the lowly Coyotes and Stars, so it's not exactly safe to say they're out of the woods. Perhaps that will serve as a mini confidence boost, though.
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