Watch as the Blackhawks take on the New York Islanders 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. Andrew Ladd faces former team.
The former two-time Blackhawk who helped bring a Stanley Cup to Chicago in 2010 and was re-acquired by the team at the trade deadline last February for the stretch run will face his former team for the first time since inking a seven-year, $38.5 million deal with the Islanders. He's gotten off to a rough start, scoring only three goals and three assists in 28 games. He's also averaging 16:25 of ice time, which would be the lowest since 2010. Ladd will surely be playing with some extra juice.
2. John Tavares vs. Jonathan Toews.
Tavares and Toews were two of the best forwards for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey, both of whom were tied for third on the team with four points. Now they're back to being opponents. The Islanders captain has three goals in his last four games while the Blackhawks captain recently returned from a nine-game hiatus due to a back injury and will look to return to top form. Who knows whether the coaching matchups will feature these two on the ice together, but it's always fun to watch two of the best two-way centers go head-to-head.
3. Another game-winner for Artem Anisimov?
According to Elias, Anisimov is the first Blackhawks skater to score three game-winning goals in three straight team wins since Patrick Sharp did so in 2011-12. Anisimov now has six game-winners on the year, which is tied with Jeff Carter for the league lead. His previous career high in a single season was five, accomplished in 2013-14 with Columbus. There's still 52 games left in the season.
4. Find lanes and shoot.
The Islanders have allowed the third-most shots on goal this season at 32.6 per game. And that number could be higher considering they lead the league in blocked shots with 543. They sacrifice their bodies a lot, so expect the Blackhawks to pepper the net and try to find the open lane before shooting.
5. Take a lead into the third period. Or don't?
The Blackhawks improved to 13-0-0 this season when leading after two periods, and are 75-0-4 in that department since the start of the 2014-15 campaign. The Islanders are one of four teams that have yet to win a game when trailing after the second (0-7-1). But it may not be important. The Blackhawks' best period has been the third, where they've scored 27 goals and have given up only 20, which is tied for second-fewest. The Islanders have scored their most goals in the third (28), but have allowed the fourth-most (33) in the final frame. The Blackhawks aren't strangers to comeback victories, having the second-most wins (5) when trailing after two periods. Of course, they'd like to take a lead into the third but it wouldn't be the end of the world if that's not the case.
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