They also will be playing the only Western Conference team that hasn't had a chance to give Chicago (20-0-3) its first loss in regulation time this season -- though the Avalanche hold just a 2-7-3 mark on the road thus far.
Among the 13 Western Conference teams Chicago has faced to date, the Blackhawks have earned victories against all but the Anaheim Ducks, who left Chicago on Feb. 12 with a hard-earned 3-2 shootout win. It was one of just three shootout defeats for the Blackhawks, the only time they've been on the wrong end of the final score this season.
"I'm sure they're excited," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said of the Avalanche, following his team's 5-3 home victory Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild -- a win which also was a team-record 10th straight. "I'm sure they want to be the team that comes in and maybe catches us off-guard, but we've just got to regroup and get ourselves ready for another game at home. We need to take advantage of the energy that our fans give us in the first period and try to carry that for three periods."
It will be the seventh game the Blackhawks play in an 11-day window, which makes the fact they've now won those 10 straight games and gone 29 straight dating to last season with at least a point even more impressive.
It’s not going to be an easy task for Colorado, even if reports in the Denver Post say it's possible that injured defensemen Erik Johnson (head) and Ryan Wilson (ankle) might return after extended absences.
Ian McCoshen is in his third season with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League. The 6-foot-2.5, 207-pound defenseman, No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, has eight goals, 33 points and a plus-24 rating in 40 games this season. The Boston College-bound McCoshen has agreed to submit a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his progress leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft.
Our season has been a good one so far. With six weeks to go, we currently find ourselves in a race for the fourth and final spot for the playoffs this year. I believe it is a great chance for our team to seize the opportunity, rise to the challenge, and get it done. We could still climb in the standings and even catch our conference leader, Sioux Falls, with fourteen games to go.
I think that will help us if we use it to our advantage in preparing for the playoffs. The playoffs are about all-out battles every single shift. It will not get any easier, and we like the challenge ahead.
Personally, I feel that I have matured more and am more patient with the puck than I was in my first season as a Black Hawk. I believe I am also more comfortable with my strength and skating ability this year. I am focused on just trying to make the simple plays and put pucks on the net.
CALGARY -- After missing 13 games with a sprained knee ligament, goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff will make his return to the lineup when the Calgary Flames host the San Jose Sharks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.
Calgary coach Bob Hartley confirmed Kiprusoff's start Wednesday.
"I said 'Are you ready?' and he answered back, 'I want to play,'" Hartley said. "Once the medical staff clears you and the player tells the coach that he wants to play, you just open the door."
Kiprusoff's return meant Daniel Taylor, who went 1-1-0 in two games, was sent to Abbotsford of the American Hockey League.
A mainstay in Calgary's net for a decade, Kiprusoff has played 70 or more games in each of the last seven seasons for the Flames. Before getting hurt in the second period against the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 5, the 36-year-old netminder had played every minute for Calgary this season.
TORONTO -- The Ottawa Senators will get a much-needed boost when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday as Milan Michalek returns to the lineup after a 10-game absence. Michalek injured his knee in the pre-game warm-ups prior to a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 13.
"It's been a while; I'm really excited," Michalek said. "It took me a few weeks, I was rehabbing, but now [my knee] feels good. Hopefully I can provide some offense that has been missing. I'm going to try not to put too much pressure on [myself].
The Senators have struggled offensively this season, entering Wednesday 29th with 2.13 goals per game.
"Milan brings a veteran presence and experience that we definitely need," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "His speed and offensive ability is going to help us, give us more offensive depth. That is a great addition."
The Blackhawks' historic run to start the season survived yet another day after beating the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Less than 24 hours later, Chicago welcomes the only team they have yet to face in the Western Conference, the Colorado Avalanche. Steve Mears and EJ Hradek will get you set for that matchup on Wednesday's edition of Cisco NHL Live at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network.
NBC Sports Insider Pierre McGuire will be standing by via our Cisco NHL Arena Cam as he prepares for the game.
We'll fill you in on the latest status of Rangers defenseman Marc Staal and we'll weigh in on the visor debate. Find out how the League and players feel in light of the latest injury.
Staal was injured 5:45 into the third period when Kimmo Timonen's slap shot was deflected up and into his face. Staal immediately left the ice and did not return to the game. The Rangers have not provided an update on his condition as of yet, but one is reportedly expected to come Wednesday.
Hamrlik, 38, was placed on waivers by the Capitals on Tuesday. He was a healthy scratch in 16 of the team's 20 games. He is in the final year of a two-year contract that carries a $3.5 million salary cap hit. By claiming him, the Rangers pick up the remainder of Hamrlik's contract and cap hit.
The Calgary Sun reported that Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff was the first goaltender off the ice at Wednesday's morning skate, ahead of Wednesday night's game against the visiting San Jose Sharks. Traditionally, the first goalie off the ice at a morning skate will start that night's game.
In seven games prior to his injury, Kiprusoff is 2-3-2 with a 3.24 goals-against average and .870 save percentage.
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We have no doubt how he can play. You don't, with four teams that are left, you're not getting here without good goaltending. All great goalies left, and [Bishop] is a top-tier goaltender in this league and he's shown it.