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PREVIEW: Blackhawks at Flames - Dec. 31, 2019

Chicago closes out decade in Calgary with New Year's Eve meeting against the Flames

by Carter Baum @CarterBaum / Blackhawks.com

TIME: 8 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH RADIO: WGN Radio 720 STREAM: NHL.TV & MyTeamsApp

The Blackhawks close out the decade they dominted on Tuesday night with a New Year's Eve matchup with the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Alberta.


TEAM RECORDS

CHI: 17-17-6, 40 PTS (7th in Central)
CGY: 20-16-5, 45 PTS (4th in Pacific)


LAST TIME OUT

Chicago overcame a multi-goal hole in the third period for the second straight road game with a 3-2 shootout win in Columbus on Sunday night. Dylan Strome and Erik Gustafsson scored in regulation and Robin Lehner stopped 31 of the 33 shots faced, while Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane scored in the shootout.

Calgary dropped a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday evening as defensemen Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson scored the goals for the Flames in the first Battle of Alberta this sesaon.

The Flames took all three meetings against the Blackhawks a season ago, including a 3-0 victory in the lone game at the Saddledome on Nov. 3. 


LINEUP NOTES

Lehner will make his third straight start as the Blackhawks look for a third straight win to close out 2019. Alex Nylander and Slater Koekkoek will come out of the lineup, while Dylan Sikura and Olli Maatta draw back in for head coach Jeremy Colliton. 

Video: Colliton on lineup vs. CGY


FINDING RHYTHM

The Blackhawks have won five of their last seven outings and look to earn a third straight win to close out 2019 on Tuesday night. 

"We've got to continue to focus on our preparation," Colliton said. "Most of it's mental, we've got to be sharp all the time and managing the game, being patient, making great puck decisions, ready to defend at all times, and when we have that mindset, then we come through offensively. Last game, we didn't like our first period at all."

"We can't get too high. We seem to do that where win a few in a row or three out of four and we think we're really, really good and we've still got to work," Strome said after Sunday's win. "I think we are really, really good when we work and when we do the right things and it shows."


HOMECOMING

It's a special night for Colliton, who hails from nearby Blackie, Alberta and will coach his first game in Calgary as an NHL head coach.

"I spent a lot of time in this building obviously as a kid and have a lot of people here," said Colliton, who started attending games in the Saddledome as a young kid. "Want to have a good performance no question."

The 34-year-old took over as head coach three days after Chicago's last trip to Calgary and wants to make the most of his return to southern Alberta.

"It'll be good. Fun. Good that playing well coming in here and would be great to keep it going."

Video: Kane on All-Star selection 


SHOWTIME TO ST. LOUIS

Patrick Kane was named to the NHL All-Star roster for the sixth straight season and ninth time overall in his career on Monday, representing the Central Division at the 2020 NHL All-Star Weekend on Jan. 24-25.  

The forward is 10th in the league with 47 points (20G, 27A) and shares fourth with 38 points (17G, 21A) since Nov. 1. He notched his 20th goal of the season on Dec. 21 to become the 11th player in league history to score 20 or more goals in each of their first 13 NHL seasons. With 798 points (313G, 485A) in 741 games played since Jan. 1, 2010, Kane has scored the most points among all players this decade heading into the final day.

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