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Preview: Ducks Open Four-Game Road Trip Tonight in Chicago

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

After a fruitless homestand, maybe the best thing for the Ducks is some time on the road. They'll have four tries to get back on track before the bye week/All-Star break, and it begins tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. (5:30 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: AM 830). If the Ducks are to make a run for an elusive playoff spot (they're 13 points back of the second wild card), they're going to have to start winning games against teams they hope to pass. Chicago is up first.

The Blackhawks sit five points ahead of the Ducks in the conference with 44, and have gone 6-4-0 in their last 10. They've hit a bump in the road, however, with losses in two straight and three of their last four. They're coming off a 5-2 defeat on Thursday that featured an empty-net goal from Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne. This is the finale of a four-game homestand for the Blackhawks, who have gone 10-11-3 this season at the United Center.

A model of consistency, Patrick Kane enters tonight's matchup riding a five-game point streak (4g/5a). The 31-year-old right wing is six points shy of 1,000 and on Jan. 2 passed Joe Mullen for the most points registered by a U.S.-born player within their first 13 NHL seasons.

This is the second of three meetings between the Ducks and Blackhawks this season, and one of two to be held in Chicago. The Blackhawks opened the series with a 3-2 overtime victory on Nov. 3 at Honda Center with Kane scoring the OT winner. The Ducks have an all-time record of 50-34-12 vs. the Blackhawks, including a 24-19-6 mark on the road. Ryan Getzlaf paces active Ducks in career scoring vs. Chicago with 34 points (8g/26a) in 44 games.

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