BLACKHAWKS (7-5-1) at RANGERS (5-4-1)
TV: NHLN-CA (HD), NHLN-US (HD), CSN-CH (HD), MSG (HD)
Season series --
This is the only meeting of the season between the two Original Six clubs.
Big Story --
Both teams are coming off big and much-needed road wins on Saturday night with the Rangers shutting out the Maple Leafs in Toronto, 2-0, and the Blackhawks taking a 3-1 decision over the Wild in Minnesota. Each team is missing its Slovakian star, as Marian Hossa
and Marian Gaborik
are both ailing from similar upper-body injuries. We know Gaborik's is a shoulder injury, but we don't know the extent of Hossa's injury.
Injuries have snuck up on the Blackhawks, with Hossa now out four weeks and Brian Campbell still sidelined, though on the mend and near a return, thanks to his preseason knee injury. There is some thought out there that Campbell could return for this game at MSG, but he remains a long shot, at least for now. Dave Bolland
also missed the Hawks game in Minnesota with an upper-body injury and he's listed as day-to-day.
However, Chicago got a performance it needed out of goalie Marty Turco on Saturday to pick up a crucial victory after it lost, 7-4, at home to Edmonton the night before. Turco made 25 saves for his sixth win. Troy Brouwer also scored his first goal of the season after being put on the left wing of Jonathan Toews
and Patrick Kane
. Brouwer had 22 goals last season.
"It wasn't so much a little monkey. It was a big gorilla on my back," Brouwer said of finally scoring.
After back-to-back home losses to Atlanta and Carolina, the Rangers went to Toronto and picked up a 2-0 win. Henrik Lundqvist
made 36 saves and Brian Boyle
scored a sweet backhanded goal while Ryan Callahan
connected on a penalty shot. They were not perfect by any means, but Lundqvist was. He made 18 saves in the second period as the Rangers tended to the lead. The penalty kill was also perfect on three chances in the final nine minutes of the first period. That included a short 5-on-3 penalty kill. The Rangers also blocked a season-high 35 shots and lead the League in blocked shots per game with an average of 19.
"I'm happy with the way I played, but the guys did a great job of blocking guys out and blocking shots, too," Lundqvist said. "They came really hard at us the last 10-15 minutes, but we got skates and sticks in the way, which was huge."
Who's Hot --
Callahan now has goals in four straight games and points in six straight (4-5-9). ... Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith
scored his first goal of the season Saturday, but he also picked up his ninth assist and his sixth in the last three games.
Injury Report --
Gaborik (shoulder), Chris Drury (finger) and Vinny Prospal (knee) are out for the Rangers. ... Hossa (upper body), Campbell (knee) and Bolland (upper body) highlight the Blackhawks' injuries.
Stat Pack --
Both teams will be playing their fourth game in six nights. They each had Thursday and Sunday off. … Chicago needed overtime last season to beat New York at United Center, 2-1. The Rangers haven't lost to Chicago at MSG since Dec. 11, 2002, but this is only the third time they've played the Hawks at home since that time.
Puck Drop --
Turco was pulled Friday night against Edmonton after yielding four goals on 12 shots in the first period. He said it didn't phase him.
"I can erase it a lot quicker. You've got to go through it sometimes to understand how it affects you," he said. "I'm just at a position now, period, where I want to win. I want to be in net. I want to be the guy."