BLACKHAWKS (10-7-1) at FLAMES (12-6-2)
TV: CSN-CH, SNF
Season series: The Chicago Blackhawks dominated the Calgary Flames in every statistic but the final score in the first game this season, which ended on Mikael Backlund's goal in overtime at United Center. Chicago put more shots on goal (50-18), attempted more shots (96-33) and got significantly more of those attempts through to the net (66-22). Flames goalie Jonas Hiller (49 saves) was a big reason for their victory, along with 30 blocked shots that never got to him.
Blackhawks team scope: Heading into the annual "Circus Trip" to Western Canada, Colorado and California, the Blackhawks have another key injury hole to patch. Rookie defenceman Trevor van Riemsdyk will have surgery to repair a fractured left patella (kneecap) and will miss 3-4 months, leaving a spot to fill on the third defence pairing. After Nick Leddy was traded during the preseason, van Riemsdyk quickly earned the role and brought stability to that pairing. Rookie Adam Clendening will get the first crack at replacing him, along with David Rundblad and veteran Michal Rozsival. Corey Crawford will start his ninth straight game. The Blackhawks went 6-1-0 on the Circus Trip last season and are 22-11-4 during the annual two-week trip since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane made their NHL debuts in 2007-08.
Flames team scope: Many are still waiting for the bottom to drop out on this surprisingly hot start for Calgary, but the Flames just keep winning. After overcoming a 2-0 deficit in the third period Tuesday to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in a shootout at Scotiabank Saddledome, the Flames have reeled off three straight wins. They've won four of their past five games and show no signs of slowing. What did come to a halt Tuesday was the scoring streak of defenceman Mark Giordano, who'd recorded at least a point in nine straight games. The Flames held an optional practice Wednesday, and a number of regulars didn't skate. Injured defenceman Kris Russell (lower body) and right wing David Jones (upper body) are questionable to return Thursday. Hiller, who beat his former team Tuesday, is scheduled to start again.