NHL analyst Eddie Olczyk joins CISCO NHL Live.
NHL analyst Eddie Olczyk joins CISCO NHL Live.
Taking to the ice for the first time since trading their captain and franchise face, coach Bob Hartley and the Flames are ready to tackle life without Iginla.
"With the departure of Jarome, we're starting a new cycle," Hartley said. "That's the unfortunate thing or the fortunate thing of pro sports. You look at football, baseball, hockey, basketball, there comes a time when a great athlete leaves an organization, leaves a city and the next day it's still business. You have to roll up your sleeve and say 'What's next?'"
CHICAGO – The team that's occupying the visitors locker room at United Center on Friday just happens to be the only team in the Western Conference that hasn't lost to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Anaheim Ducks have beaten the Blackhawks in each of the first two meetings and both have come right down to the end. Now they'll meet for a third and final time this regular season Friday night (8:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network).
Anaheim (22-7-4, 48 points), which trails West-leading Chicago (25-4-3, 53 points) by five points, prevailed 3-2 in a shootout at United Center on Feb. 12 then won 4-2 on March 20 at Honda Center. In that second victory, Anaheim scored twice in the third period to take the lead before adding an empty-net goal.
Neither loss sat very well with the Blackhawks, who ripped through the rest of the conference to start the season with an unprecedented 24-game points streak.
"People want to point out that we haven't won against this team yet, but I don't think that's a huge flaw or anything," Chicago captain Jonthan Toews said. "Obviously we want to prove ourselves. We've played two good games and it's come down to the wire against the Ducks, so if the same situation comes up [on Friday night] we obviously want to be on top. We'll work as hard as we [can] to get there and just make the smart plays and the right plays to stay there, I guess, and find a way to get the two points."
The top two teams in the Western Conference square off on NHL Network, and Cisco NHL Live with Steve Mears and EJ Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, will get you ready for Ducks-Blackhawks and your hockey weekend. We'll hear from Anaheim defenseman Francois Beauchemin from our Cisco NHL Arena Cam on how to prepare for the Hawks' one-two punch of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
We'll also have Eddie Olczyk on the show to talk about the Penguins' acquisition of Jarome Iginla, and we'll get a preview of the upcoming Frozen Four NCAA Hockey Tournament from NHL Network analyst Barry Melrose. Jon Cooper makes his coaching debut for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night, and we'll get a live preview from Lightning radio's Dave Mishkin on our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in Tampa Bay
Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks a winner for all four games being played on Friday.
CHICAGO -- Jonas Hiller was the first off the ice after the Anaheim Ducks' morning skate Friday at United Center, so it looks like he'll again be in net to try to stop the bleeding against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Ducks have lost four in a row since their 4-2 win over the Blackhawks on March 20. Hiller gave up four goals on 29 shots in a 4-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.
The Ducks have allowed nine first-period goals over the past four games. They yielded eight first-period goals in their previous 14 games.
"You gotta look at the way we started the last couple of games and it hasn't been great," Ducks forward Corey Perry told NHL.com. "We had a stat up this morning that we gave up nine goals in the first period in the last four games and that's just not starting the game the right way. If we're better in the first 10 minutes and get our feet under us we'll be all right for the rest of the game."
Anaheim is the only team in the Western Conference that hasn't lost to Chicago this season. The Ducks are five points behind the Blackhawks in second place in the Western Conference standings.
Here is the projected lineup for Anaheim against Chicago on Friday:
DALLAS -- After starting Niklas Backstrom in goal for the past 12 games, a stretch in which the Minnesota Wild have gone 10-2-0, coach Mike Yeo decided to keep his No. 1 goaltender back in the Twin Cities. That means Matt Hackett will make his first start of the season Friday night against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.
Hackett, who was recalled from Houston of the American Hockey League on Thursday, has yet to appear in an NHL game this season, but was 3-6-0 with a 2.37 goals-against average in 12 games with Minnesota last season.
“All I’m hoping to see is what he came up and did last year. He played very good hockey for us last year and we’ve seen him do that both at this level and the American Hockey League,” Yeo said. “We’re anxious to get him in a game. We’re anxious to see him play and prove what he can do.”
TAMPA -- New Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper may have looked calm as he prepared to coach his first game in the NHL, but looks can be deceiving.
"How am I looking right now? Am I looking OK?" Cooper asked the media after the morning skate. "OK, so take this and do the opposite and that's what is going on in here. I'm jacked. This is really, really exciting. I've got a plan. I've done it my way, and here I stand today. I wouldn't say that I'm really nervous, although five minutes before the game I'm sure I will be. There is a wave of emotions. I wish everyone could feel what I'm feeling right now. It's pretty cool."
Cooper will debut behind the bench Friday night when the Lightning play the New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Though it isn't out of the realm of possibility, the chances are unlikely leading up to Wednesday's NHL Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. ET.
Miller has one season remaining on his contract that comes with an annual salary-cap hit of $6.25 million, according to Capgeek.com.
According to ESPN.com's Craig Custance, Miller does have trade protection in that he can submit a list of teams he won't accept a trade to, but some clubs believe the All-Star goalie, who has spent the past 10 seasons in Buffalo, wouldn't mind a change in scenery.
The two top teams in the Western Conference face off, in what could be an interesting game. Despite being just 5 points behind the Blackhawks, Anaheim is in a slump and hasn’t won a game in 4 starts. That said, the Ducks have come out on top both times they’ve faced the Hawks this year. Chicago will miss elite forwards Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, but haven’t had much trouble putting pucks in the net no matter who’s on the ice this season. The Blackhawks will be out in force trying to get some revenge, but the game will come down to whether Anaheim can break out of their funk.
Ducks’ Keys to the Game
• Snap out of it – The Ducks have allowed 16 goals in their last 4 games, they need to be much stronger in, and in front of the net.
• Test the Tender – Chicago’s last win was an easy 16 save shutout, the Ducks need to get pucks on the net early and often, and make the Blackhawks’ backstop work.
Blackhawks’ Keys to the Game
• Respect the Competition – Despite the losing streak, the Ducks are no slouch, and are not far removed from their sizzling start to the season. The Blackhawks need to give 100% from the opening puck-drop, to the final buzzer.
• Find Scoring – Without Sharp and Hossa, the Hawks need to continue to get scoring from their defensive, and 3rd / 4th line players. Kane and Toews may not be enough if the Ducks wake up.
At 17:33 of the second period in the Blue Jackets/Oilers game, video review determined that Columbus forward Matt Calvert used his skate to kick the puck into the net. According to Rule 49.2 "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net." No Goal Columbus.
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It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed.