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PREVIEW: Blackhawks at Sabres 2/1

The Blackhawks return to action following their bye week with a meeting with the Sabres in Buffalo

by Chris Wescott / blackhawks.com

TIME: 6:00 p.m. CT

TV: NBCSCH RADIO: WGN 720 ONLINE: NHL.TV & Stream via the MyTeamsApp

The Blackhawks (18-24-9) will play their first game since Jan. 22 when they take on the Sabres in Buffalo. It's the first game of a road back-to-back, as they'll play in Minnesota on Saturday.

Heading into the All-Star break and their bye week, Chicago beat the red-hot New York Islanders 3-2 in a shootout. That was their second-straight win, after having lost their previous five.

Chicago's lone All-Star representative was Patrick Kane, who continues to pace the team in scoring with 71 points (29G, 42A) in 50 games. Kane is currently riding a nine-game point streak. It's a homecoming for Kane, who is from Buffalo.

Jonathan Toews is second on the team in scoring with 48 points (22G, 26A). Alex DeBrincat is third in scoring with 43 points and is second in goals with 25.

Between the pipes, Collin Delia continues to do a good job of filling in for Corey Crawford (concussion). The rookie goalie has a team-leading 3.00 GAA and .923 save percentage.

The Sabres (25-19-6) have already played two games this week. They beat Columbus 5-4 on Tuesday but lost 1-0 in Dallas on Wednesday.

Jack Eichel is their leading scorer with 53 points (16G, 37A) in 47 games. Jeff Skinner leads the team in goals with an impressive 31 and is tied for second in points with 45. Sam Reinhart is the other skater with 45 points this season.

Carter Hutton has seen the majority of minutes in net for Buffalo, posting a 2.79 GAA and .911 save percentage.

SEASON SERIES:

This is the first of two meetings between the teams this season. They'll play again at the United Center on March 7.

The Blackhawks split their 2017-18 series with Buffalo, winning 3-2 in overtime at home and losing 5-3 on the road.

LINEUP NOTES:

Cam Ward will start in goal tonight. Gustav Forsling has been activated off IR. Brendan Perlini and Slater Koekkoek will be scratched.

OPPONENT TO WATCH:

Jeff Skinner is having a career year in a Sabres uniform, following his trade from the Carolina Hurricanes. He has 31 goals in only 50 games this season. He's just six goals shy of matching his career high of 37 (2016-17).

With only one goal in his last six games, he's due to score in bunches soon. He never goes too long without lighting the lamp.

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